PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – West Indies have called up in-form Jamaican stroke-maker Jermaine Blackwood to the 13-man squad for the second Test against New Zealand starting here tomorrow.
The 22-year-old is one of two changes to the squad with Guyana left-hander Leon Johnson also included for the June 16-20 encounter at Queen’s Park Oval. Blackwood and Johnson replace experienced batsman Marlon Samuels and left-handed opener Kieran Powell, both of whom are struggling for form.
Samuels scored a ‘pair’ in West Indies’ 186-run defeat in the first Test at Sabina Park in Jamaica last week while Powell was unconvincing in scoring 28 and nought in the same match. The 24-year-old Powell, viewed as one for the future, has averaged just 19 from his last eight Tests and has not passed 50 in nearly two years.
Samuels, meanwhile, has also struggled of late, and managed just 125 runs from six innings in the wretched tour of New Zealand last number. His pair last week meant he has now failed to score in three of his last four innings.
Blackwood, however, has been rewarded for his outstanding form in the Regional first class championships, where he scored 611 runs at an average of 40. The attacking right-hander followed up with sensational hundreds for West Indies High Performance Centre in the ongoing series against touring Bangladesh A, where he slammed 140 in the opening four-day Test and hit 147 a week later in the second match.
Johnson, too, has been among the runs, gathering nearly 300 runs at an average of 59, in just three first class matches for Guyana during the four-day season.
He has also hit four half-centuries in the Bangladesh A series.
SQUAD – Denesh Ramdin (captain), Sulieman Benn, Jermaine Blackwood, Kraigg Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Shiv Chanderpaul, Kirk Edwards, Shannon Gabriel, Chris Gayle, Jason Holder, Leon Johnson, Shane Shillingford, Kemar Roach, Jerome Taylor.