‘How many deliveries did you face?’: Virat Kohli’s advice that changed the game for West Indies batsman Blackwood

West Indies batsman Jermaine Blackwood revealed that a conversation with India captain Virat Kohli changed his mindset and helped him aim to bat long in a Test match.

Blackwood who came face-to-face with Kohli during the India vs West Indies Test match in Kingston, Jamaica in 2019, said he has interacted with the Indian captain a few times on social media.

“I talked to Virat Kohli a few times as well on social media. The last time India toured the Caribbean, I had a chance to talk to him in Jamaica when I was there subbing,” Blackwood told ESPNCricinfo recalling the match in which he was drafted into the side as a concussion sub for Darren Bravo.

The right-handed batsman said he asked Kohli about not being able to convert his fifties into hundreds.

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“So after the game, I just had a small conversation. I asked him about how I have a lot of half-centuries and [only] one century. He just said, ‘What will you do when you score a century? How many deliveries did you face?’ I said I faced 212 balls,” said Blackwood.

Blackwood went on to add how Kohli then told him not to think about the runs and instead bat as long as he can.

“He said, ‘That’s it, once you can bat some balls, you’re going to score runs’. So I took a big thing from that. After that conversation, I tell myself that once I can bat over 200 or 300 balls, the way I bat, I can score runs regardless of who I am playing against or where I am playing,” he added.

Blackwood, who was West Indies’ highest run-scorer in their last two-Test series in England and New Zealand, also shared how he got back to the Test side by working hard.

“I think I have been out of the West Indies team for almost three years,” he said on his routines while being away from the national team. “On the sidelines, I did some work on my mental space. I trained twice a day and hit the gym every day. I put in a lot of hard work to be as fit as possible. I tried to come back as strong as possible. You can see the results. I am better at my shot selection, I am starting to understand my game very well, [and] I want to continue to do the same going forward.”

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