Kingston – West Indies batsman Brandon King brushed aside suggestions of pressure on players in the upcoming series against New Zealand, three Twenty20 Internationals marking the final matches before the Caribbean side head to the ICC T20I World Cup this October in Australia.
Very few players impressed in the five-match series against India that ended this past Sunday and West Indies lost 1-4, raising question marks over changes to the squad for the showpiece later this year.
King said, however, the series was simply another opportunity to perform, and he noted players were focussed on executing their game plans against the New Zealanders when the tour opens with the first T20I on Wednesday at Sabina Park.
“I wouldn’t say [there is any pressure]… I wouldn’t say this series is any different to the previous ones we have played,” King said.
“Obviously, we’re building towards a World Cup, so the coach will have his role, and he’s trying to finalise how he wants the team to be set up.
“But we as players have to focus on our job, which is performing our best for the team and trying to win games.”
West Indies endured a chastening campaign against the Indians, especially in the last two T20Is when they suffered heavy defeats in the double-header at the Central Broward Regional Park this past weekend in the American city of Lauderhill in the state of Florida.
The Black Caps are expected to present an equally stern test with players such as Kane Williamson, Trent Boult, Devon Conway, Martin Guptill, and Tim Southee all included in a strong 15-member squad for the tour.
King, a Jamaican, who will be playing before his home crowd for the first time in an international and has been in decent nick with two half-centuries in his last five T20I innings, said it was important West Indies learnt quickly from the experiences against India.
“We’re all professionals, so we just try to take the lessons from the last series,” King said.
“Obviously, it wasn’t the best series for us, but we also played very good cricket before that. We know how we want to play, and we’re looking to continue in that way and play more consistently.”
West Indies will start the series with the odds against them, having beaten the Black Caps only once in the last 10 matches over the past eight years.
The visitors are also ranked fifth in the ICC charts, two spots ahead of West Indies, and were good enough to reach the final of the T20I World Cup last November before losing to Australia.
King said the key to any success against New Zealand will be consistency.
“It’s cricket – you win some, you lose some – but what we would like to have is that consistency of approach to how we play these games,” King said.
“Obviously, the skipper has given us a good understanding of how he wants us to play, and we’re trying to do that in this series.”
The first T20I starts at 1:30 p.m. local time (2:30 p.m. Eastern Caribbean Time).
West Indies (from): Nicholas Pooran (captain), Rovman Powell, Shamarh Brooks, Dominic Drakes, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Obed McCoy, Keemo Paul, Romario Shepherd, Odean Smith, Devon Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jr.
New Zealand (from): Kane Williamson (captain), Finn Allen, Trent Boult, Michael Bracewell, Devon Conway, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee.