“He has had a big impact already” – Test vice-captain Jermaine Blackwood says WI players boosted by Lara’s new role with the team

West Indies Test vice-captain Jermaine Blackwood said Lara’s appointment as performance mentor for the team, is extra motivation to all the players and he looking for big runs in the upcoming series against Zimbabwe.

The warm-up Test match between West Indies vs Zimbabwe 2023 will be played on January 28 at the Bulawayo Athletic Club in Bulawayo. The game is set to commence at 1.30 PM IST.

West Indies cricket great Brian Lara will work with the team as a performance mentor and is joining the squad in Zimbabwe ahead of a two-test series.

Cricket West Indies announced Lara’s appointment on Thursday and said he’ll be involved with all the West Indies national teams and the national academy.

Lara is one of cricket’s best batters of all time, scoring more than 11,000 test runs in a 16-year career between 1990 and 2006. He holds the record for the highest test score with his 400 not out against England in 2004.

“He has had a big impact already,” Blackwood told the media during a virtual press conference ahead of the team’s four-day tour match against a Zimbabwe XI starting today in Bulawayo.

“His presence alone gives the team energy and pumps them up to play and to go out there to score runs for him to see. But to have the legend around is always good and I think everybody is taking the opportunity to pick his brain a bit and talk to him and ask his advice on certain stuff and I think he is doing that pretty good as well,” Blackwood continued.

“We are really enjoying his company and he brings something different to the team and also to the whole coaching staff as well. Hopefully in the next few days you can see a much more improved batting display from our team,” he added.

Blackwood admitted that he didn’t do too well on the recent tour of Australia and is keen on making amends.

“My goal is to score as much runs as possible. The last three series I haven’t really scored any centuries, so I’m looking forward to this series to score at least one or two centuries and get going for the South Africa series to come,” Blackwood noted.

The right-handed middle-order batter also wants to set an example for his teammates to follow.

“Everybody has their own responsibility. Yes, I am the vice captain, and I have to lead from the front. I am trying my best to do that and set the example whenever I bat, so I always want to score runs so that everybody else can follow and I think that’s the same thing with the captain as well,” the 31-year-old Jamaican said.

“I think once I score runs the team will feed off of that and we can just kick on from there,” adding, “Going forward I am feeling pretty good and the way I am feeling now, I feel back in my old self from a few years ago so hopefully I can go out there and put in some good performances for the team and for myself.”

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