Matches (19)
NZ v AUS (1)
WPL (2)
PSL 2024 (3)
Ranji Trophy (2)
Nepal Tri-Nation (2)
Sheffield Shield (3)
CWC Play-off (4)
Dang CL (1)
WCL 2 (1)
News

Back among runs, Brandon King ready to 'bat anywhere in top six' for West Indies

Having batted at the top and in the middle, King backs himself to be flexible and tailor his game to suit the team's needs

Deivarayan Muthu
03-Jun-2022
Since December 2021, King has hit 194 runs in five ODI innings at an average of 64.66 and a strike rate of 97  •  BCCI

Since December 2021, King has hit 194 runs in five ODI innings at an average of 64.66 and a strike rate of 97  •  BCCI

Brandon King had originally started as a middle-order batter for Jamaica and after having two productive first-class seasons, he was picked for a similar middle-order role in the West Indies A side in August 2019. King had also begun his CPL career in the middle order for St Kitts & Nevis Patriots, but in 2019, Johan Botha, the then head coach of Guyana Amazon Warriors, bumped him up to the top to take advantage of the powerplay restrictions.
King responded to the CPL promotion with 496 runs in 12 innings at an average of 55.11 and strike rate of almost 150, including an unbeaten 132 in the first qualifier, which moved Botha to tears. Such a barnstorming run culminated in a call-up to West Indies' white-ball sides, but King struggled to make the step-up to international cricket and was dropped from the set-up after the New Zealand tour in 2020.
However, since his return in December 2021, he has made 259 runs in ten T20I innings at a strike rate of 118.26 and his ODI numbers are even more striking: 194 runs in five innings at an average of 64.66 and a strike rate of 97. A lion's share of those runs has come in the last two innings against Netherlands in Amstelveen at a position where he started his career - middle order.
After hitting an unbeaten 58 in a support act to Shai Hope's century in the first ODI, King took the lead in the second, scoring a career-best 91 not out off 90 balls. King came to the crease when West Indies were 48 for 3 in their pursuit of 215 and then watched them slide further to 99 for 5. He, however, worked past the early strikes along with Keacy Carty in an unbroken 118-run sixth-wicket partnership to help West Indies avoid the Netherlands banana peel and seal the series.
"Yeah, going out there, wickets falling around me… I just had to try and dig in and stay out there for the team," King told CWI media after winning the Player-of-the-Match award. "Knowing that I was one of the last recognised batsmen out there with Keacy, I thought we just had to stay out there. We weren't chasing a big total, so it was good to keep it simple."
"He was brilliant coming in that pressure situation in his first innings. I thought he played exceptionally well. He kept a cool head and if he continues with that, he'll do well"
Brandon King on Keacy Carty
Having batted at the top and in the middle, with a fair degree of success in the CPL and in international cricket, King backed himself to be flexible in the batting line-up and tailor his game to suit the needs of the team.
"To be honest, part of my strength is adapting to whatever is needed for the team. I can bat anywhere in the top six," King said. "This was a new role given to me. It's not unfamiliar [though] - I'm a middle-order batsman first and foremost, so I'm comfortable in this position.
"As cricketers, when times are good, you have to try and cash in and get as many runs as possible. I'm trying to cash in and feel good out there, and trying to capitalise on good form."
King was impressed with Carty's 43 off 66 balls in what was the 25-year-old's first outing with the bat in international cricket. Carty was the top-scorer in West Indies' Under-19 World Cup final victory in Mirpur in 2016 and has just broken in international cricket.
Like Carty, King has also needed time to make it to international cricket, having represented West Indies in the 2014 Under-19 World Cup. So, what's King's advice to Carty?
"Just keep doing what he did today," King said. "He was brilliant coming in that pressure situation in his first innings. I thought he played exceptionally well. He kept a cool head and if he continues with that, he'll do well."
Ahead of the Netherlands tour, head coach Phil Simmons had said that series victory aside, the approach of the batters in the middle overs would determine West Indies' "success". Two ODIs in, King has contributed handsomely to that success, and he hopes to take his form to Pakistan.
"Actually, [these are] very important [Super league] points," King said. "We haven't had the best fortunes in this format of the game, so it's great to come away with the series win. Extremely happy and hopefully, we can carry it into the last game and then into the next series [in Pakistan]."

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo