Blackwell reflects on T20 boom
Ian Blackwell could perhaps be forgiven for wondering how things may have been different had he been born a decade later.
The powerful all-rounder retired from playing earlier this month, having enjoyed considerable success on the domestic circuit during a career that also featured 35 caps for England.
In addition to winning the LV= County Championship with Durham four years ago, the 34-year-old was part of the Somerset team that lifted the Twenty20 Cup in 2005.
Yet one can only imagine the impact Blackwell - a frequent six-hitter and canny left-arm spinner - might have made had he been coming into the game today, with rich rewards now on offer around the globe for stars in the game’s shortest format.
“Twenty20 is certainly becoming a younger, faster and fitter game. I do think about what could have been had I been 10 years younger,” Blackwell said.
Yet that is not to say he is full of regret.
He added: “I am grateful to have sampled some of the first tournaments that came along and obviously to be able to win it in 2005 with Somerset was something that was very special.
“I am very pleased with what I’ve achieved; I have even been to New Zealand (two winters ago) and played in their tournament so I managed to travel, albeit only once.”
In an exclusive interview with ecb.co.uk, Blackwell also reflected on his time in the international arena.
He featured in 34 one-day internationals from September 2002 to April 2006, without ever securing his place.
“I think I was fortunate to play as much as I did to be honest,” he said. “I certainly do not doubt my ability, but I never felt like I was an England regular at any point.
“I tended to go on all of the sub-continental tours with the one-day side. Out of my 32 games, I only played four in England.
“It was a bit disjointed really; I enjoyed my times and my trips but never felt I was part of the squad series in, series out.”
The highlight of Blackwell’s time with England came when he made what proved to be his only Test appearance, against India in Nagpur.
“It was certainly a great honour to play Test cricket, receive my cap; nobody can take that away from me,” he stated.
Having reached the highest level as a player, Blackwell hopes to make similar progress as an umpire.
Yet he is in no rush to achieve his goal, acknowledging that it will take time to master his new trade.
“I am certainly not going to put pressure on myself in terms of trying to get on the international panel or even the first-class one until I am ready,” he concluded.
“Hopefully I can be good at what I do; it is an exciting time and a new chapter that I am certainly looking forward to.”