Brandon King: The Man Who Can Likely Be a King For West Indies

image-ljqq05wuBrandon King recently starred with the bat for West Indies [Source: Twitter]

Of the little that has gone the West Indies way in the ongoing World Cup qualifiers, Brandon King’s form is a welcome breath of fresh air, besides being a huge sigh of relief. 

It ought to be remembered, the West Indies entered the Zimbabwe-bound World Cup qualifiers with one aim and one alone: which was to win all the stipulated games and qualify for the ODI World Cup slated for later this year. 

How Brandon King has been a respite for the Windies

However, bad batting, vague, disappointing bowling and the usual sloppy Caribbean fielding let down not only the two time past World Cup winners, but legions of fans around the world. 

The state of shell shocked and absolutely disheartened still very much defines the average West Indies fan despite the news about their crashing out of the One day World Cup being no more a brand new development.   

The fan can’t really crib about King

But amid these sorry state of affairs, can the fan complaint about Brandon King? 

A few hours ago, it was King, not Hope or Pooran who lifted his bat to acknowledge the delight of the fans at the Harare Sports club. 

In a series where milestones have hardly been a recurring sight for the Windies, besides the centuries plundered by the captain himself and Nicholas Pooran, Brandon King ensured that here was yet another batsman who would contribute and not leave anything to chance. 

Coming good vs Oman

The right hander from Jamaica had complied a near run-a-ball century, just the second of his career. 

That the century came against Oman was hardly the point of debate, the Associate nation still very much new to the sport being hardly a spot of bother for the Caribbean dashers. 

Though what was significant and definitive in the West Indies triumph over Oman, only the first occasion where the two had played one other, was the fact that someone from their vulnerable top order had laid the perfect platform for the run chase. 

It was a run chase which, lest it is forgotten, may not have been all that fairly simple or straightforward as the West Indies have floundered in batting even against significantly inexperienced sides such as Scotland as seen previously. 

image-ljqpu15kKing slammed a scintillating ton vs Oman [Source: Twitter]

That of course, doesn’t mean that the full-time ICC members haven’t been susceptible to both pace and spin at the top of the order particularly in the earlier contests against the USA and Nepal. 

But against Oman, perhaps ever unassuming about what was coming their way, Brandon indeed played like a King. He scored sixty percent of his runs - and he scored them fluently- just by way of boundaries. 

That the tall batsman cut a dash of elegance and flair with strokes on all sides was perhaps the picture perfect moment on July 5, one of those rare days where a win came the West Indies way. 

However, truth be told, it isn’t just these World Cup qualifiers where Brandon King has been in fine touch, having conjured 250 runs as on date with a game to go against Sri Lanka. 

As far as 2023 is concerned, a year West Indies cricket will take long to overcome given their massive exit from the World Cup, Brandon King has emerged as the highest scorer in the one day arena, which continues to remain a boiling point for the West Indies on the whole. 

For a batman who played the lion’s share of his 30 one day games in 2022, wherein he played 16 contests but hardly scored much runs, the Brandon King we are seeing in 2023 is quite the revelation. 

But how’s that? 

In 2022- he had 7 single digit scores in 16 innings during which he made 344 runs at an average touching 24. That was rather ordinary despite the bulk of chances afforded in 50-over cricket. 

However, adding a touch of impetus and aggressive steak to his batting this year, King has scored 528 runs already from just 10 games. 

Soaring ahead of even Pooran and Hope

Pooran and Hope, meanwhile, have accumulated 414 and 519 runs, from 8 and 10 innings, respectively. 

With 2 scintillating hundreds, one each against the UAE (June 6) and Oman, the top order bat has stroked his runs at a northerly strike rate touching 96. 

But is that all? 

For a batsman who had 7 of his 16 innings in 2022 as single-digit scores has only got out for a score under ten just once as far as this year is concerned. And this year isn’t over yet. 

The less visited about King

Perhaps one of the more under appreciated and maybe even less visited facts about the West Indies in 2023 is the manner in which Brandon King began this year. 

His first four one day knocks culminating in knocks like 30 and 72 against South Africa followed by the 112 and 64 against the UAE side in Sharjah. 

Surely, King’s got his work cut out especially against opponents such as a Pakistan and India, and even New Zealand or Bangladesh. 

But for a young career that’s maturing nicely and hopefully, has its best days ahead, the batsman who rose to national cricket after smashing quite a lot of runs in the earlier drafts of the CPL, will sort his game out against the giants in white ball cricket.  

Frankly, the West Indies are still without an extremely stable or comfortably fluent opening pair; Charles and Mayers, who’ve both been switched on and off from the opening cauldron, haven’t really looked confident and have struggled. 

The only force offering stability this year has been Brandon King, who made his first-class debut for Jamaica in 2014-15 but had a breakout season in 2018-19, when he racked up 630 runs in seven games. 

With plenty of experience of having played in the Caribbean and now centuries outside of the Caribbean, Brandon King must be nurtured further and given the solid foundation a player of his caliber and talent warrants. 

What can be expected ahead?

On their part, the Windies cannot ill afford another promising talent to fade away as has been the case with countless batsmen in the past. 

And where he’s concerned, then King will have to produce more and more runs to further his career and hopefully target becoming some sort of an emperor with the bat. 

That he’s begun well, already within a touching distance of 1,000 one day runs, is a positive sign. But the man possessing natural elegance must travel the proverbial long mile.