West Indies skipper Denesh Ramdin hailed the performance of the younger players under his command after they stepped up to help the Windies clinch a ten-wicket win over New Zealand in the second Test at Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain on Friday to square the square the three match series 1-1.
The win was Ramdin’s first as captain and he said although there were some areas that the regional team needed to work on, there were also a lot of positives coming out of the game with opening batsman Kraigg Brathwaite, middle order batsmen Darren Bravo and Kirk Edwards and debutante batsman Jermaine Blackwood all making their mark in the match.
Brathwaite, who is just 21 years old and who was playing in only his 11 Test, got his break after another promising young player Kieran Powell was dropped after the first Test at Sabina when the Windies were beaten in four day.
He took advantage of the opportunity to score his maiden Test century, 129. Meanwhile the 25-year-old Bravo, playing in his 29th Test scored his sixth hundred, 109.
The Port of Spain Test was Edwards’ 11 during which he scored seventh half century, 55, to add to his two tons. The 20-year-old Blackwood on his debut scored 63.
Together, they helped the Windies post 460 in their first innings which set up the win.
“All those are young guys to take West Indies cricket forward,” said Ramdin.
“Jermaine Blackwood is and exciting young player. His name has been calling for the last few seasons in terms of runs at the first-class level.
“We talked about application but when he went out there and the manner in which he got those runs, he applied himself and he played his shots throughout the innings,” Ramdin said of the newest West Indies Test cricketer.
Blackwood exited the fans with his shots, hitting Trent Boult for four to score his first runs at the highest level before hitting the New Zealand pacer for the first of his two sixes. Blackwood was also very fast in the field with commentators comparing him to the sprinters of his native land Jamaica.
“He was a surprise to everyone. They did not know anything about him and hopefully he can go from strength to strength. He brings a lot of energy to the team, always enthusiastic and wants to learn. He wants to go in every fielding position and hopefully he can another good score in the next game.”
“Kraigg Brathwaite is new to Test cricket in terms of matches, young Darren Bravo as well in terms of matches and Kirk Edwards, they have been doing well and we saw the experience of Chris Gayle (in the second innings). He went out there and finished the job and ensure the victory for us,” Ramdin added.
Ramdin believes they have a good mix of youth and experience at the moment and said they will be going hard for the win in the final Test in Barbados which bowls off on Thursday at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown.