Opening of new Kensington Oval February 18, 2007

Youthful King wants West Indies flair

Philip Spooner



Collis King launches a six as Alec Stewart watches on at the Kensington Oval © Nation Newspapers
Collis King showed his batting skills at the Kensington Oval yesterday, and he's hoping the West Indies players can show theirs in the upcoming World Cup.

King spoke to Sunday Sun and said he believes Brian Lara's team can win the ninth World Cup, to be played in the Caribbean from March 13 to April 11. "We can win it, but those boys have to believe," King said after the match. "We are seeing how the Australians are going through a slump. If my boys can believe in themselves then we will win it. I have that much faith."

Dwayne Smith, the ebullient allrounder is a favourite of King, who was himself a classy all-rounder in his heyday. In recent months Smith has been under pressure due to a lack of form with the bat, and has copped some constructive criticism from coach Bennett King, captain Brian Lara and convenor of selectors Gordon Greenidge.

"My advice to Dwayne would be first to get some runs under his belt and stay focused on exactly what he has to do. Cricket is about bat and ball . . . all about taking wickets and making runs . . . that's his job," said King.

"I want him to forget all of what the people are saying and start afresh. Only he [Smith] can do it for himself. He has a chance to do the West Indies people proud and do well for himself.

"His selection of shots is the bad area but I still believe he has the ability to do the job. I want to see him and tell him 'Dwayne, prove all the doubters wrong'. I'm backing Dwayne . . . in a big way."

On Saturday, King played a cameo knock thrilling fans with 20 not out off just eight balls as the West Indies All Stars fell just short of victory against a World XI at the new Kensington Oval.

It brought back wonderful memories of the 1979 World Cup final when a young King made 86 as West Indies demolished England to win the event for the second time.

King is now 55, but he looked like a youngster again yesterday. He hit three sixes, the biggest landing on the roof of the three-tier Hall & Griffith Stand and ended up in the new Pickwick Walk.

"We were needing 12 runs an over so there was no time to play around. It was dog eat dog, something had to give. I knew I had a game to win and Collis King always gives it his best shot."

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