Brandon King: A dream come true to lead the WI at home

In this December 14, 2023 file photo, West Indies’ Brandon King hits 6 during the 2nd T20I against England at Grenada National Cricket Stadium in Saint George’s, Grenada. - AP PHOTO
In this December 14, 2023 file photo, West Indies’ Brandon King hits 6 during the 2nd T20I against England at Grenada National Cricket Stadium in Saint George’s, Grenada. - AP PHOTO

STAND-IN West Indies captain Brandon King says it will be a dream come true to lead the Caribbean team before his home fans when they take on South Africa in a three-match Twenty/20 series from May 23-26 at Sabina Park, Jamaica.

With West Indies T20 captain Rovman Powell and vice-captain Alzarri Joseph unavailable due to their current Indian Premier League (IPL) commitments with Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore respectively, the 29-year-old King has been appointed to lead a 15-man squad against the fourth-ranked "Proteas" team.

It will be the first time an international game will be played at the Sabina Park venue since August 2022, and the Jamaican native is looking forward to the occasion.

"Definitely, it's a dream come through for me. It couldn't be scripted better," King told Cricket West Indies (CWI) media.

"It's an honour to lead the West Indies in any capacity and it's even (nicer) to do it at home. I'm very happy."

King, who has played 47 T20 internationals for the West Indies, to go along with 37 One-day internationals (ODIs), said it's imperative for the team to stick to their identity ahead of the June1-29 International Cricket Council (ICC) men's T20 World Cup.

"A few of the guys (from the World Cup squad) are not here yet, but I think the communication has been clear with the whole group. We know how we want to play and the guys who are here are looking to implement that in this series and see how it goes," King said.

"And hopefully, it will be good preparation for us. That's really what we are looking to get out of it."

Last year, King formed part of the West Indies team which rattled off successive T20 series wins against South Africa (2-1), India (3-2) and defending T20 World Cup champions England (3-2). In his last ten T20s for the Caribbean team, King has rattled off 318 runs at an average of 39.75 – within his highest scores of 82 and 85 both coming within the timeframe as well.

King aside, seven members of West Indies' T20 World Cup squad are included for the Proteas series, including King's deputy Roston Chase and uncapped Guyanese seamer Shamar Joseph, who had a maiden stint in the 2024 IPL season with Lucknow Super Giants.

From 3 pm this Thursday, King and the West Indies will aim to get a second straight series win against the South Africans. The second match will be played on May 25, with the final T20 on May 26.

"Obviously, we're looking to win the series, that goes without saying. Everybody has their roles and we're looking for them to perform.

"It's good that we get some cricket in, especially in the buildup to the World Cup. It's good for us to get some excitement with the fans, so I'm happy about it."

After the South Africa series, the Daren Sammy-coached West Indies team will assemble in Trinidad ahead of their World Cup warm-up match against Australia at the Queen's Park Oval in St Clair on May 30. The Windies will commence their World Cup campaign against Papua New Guinea in Guyana on June 2.

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