King and Walsh thrilled with West Indies call-up
Jamaican Brandon King playing for Guyana Amazon Warriors in the just-concluded Caribbean Premier League.
Newcomers Brandon King of Jamaica and Hayden Walsh Jr, an Antiguan-American cricketer, both expressed great delight to be named in the West Indies Twenty20 and One-Day International (ODI) squads for the upcoming series against Afghanistan in India.
The tour will run from November 1 to December 2 and the West Indies will face the home side in three T20, three ODIs and one Test match.
Walsh, who grew up in Antigua and honed his skills on the island, was the leading wicket-taker in the recent Caribbean Premier League (CPL). The leg-spinner took 22 wickets – six more than the next best bowler – for champions Barbados Trident. King, who graduated through the ranks in Jamaica, was the leading batsman with 496 runs for Guyana Amazon Warriors, who lost the final to Barbados after playing unbeaten in the preliminary rounds.
"Obviously it’s a huge honour to be selected to represent the West Indies at this level. These moments are what you work towards as a player. It was always a dream to represent the West Indies. I’m really excited to get started on the upcoming tour,” King said.
The tall, elegant right-hander patterns himself on Ramnaresh Sarwan, former Guyana, and West Indies captain. The 24-year-old player is a graduate of the Campion College in Jamaica and a member of the prestigious Kingston Cricket Club.
“I was in the West Indies ‘A’ team against India ‘A’ – they had a very good team – and I was in a groove going into the CPL tournament. I carried on and those performances were mainly responsible for me being selected. I was fully focused from the start. As athletes we pride ourselves on facing the challenges and conquering them so I’m hoping to continue to make strides,” King added.
Walsh has a strong family background in sports.
His father, the late Hayden Walsh Snr, played in the Leeward Islands team in the 1980s and 1990s, while his uncle Vaughan Walsh also played for the Leewards as a feared fast bowler. Two other uncles, Wade and Audwin also represented Antigua and Barbuda in the sub-regional Leeward Islands tournament.
“It’s one of those boyhood dreams that me and my younger brother Tahir had – he wants to be a star in track and field – and I stuck to the cricket. When I got the call-up my mind flashed back to when we played in the yard with my father, and we were imagining what roles we would play in the West Indies team.
"Today, my dream is a reality, and I’m really proud to be named in the West Indies team. This is just the beginning. I’m just looking forward to getting onto the field and making a name for myself and helping West Indies win – that the main goal,” Walsh said.
“It’s going to be a step-up. I’m going to have to zone in and bring my ‘A’ game. I’m confident I can do whatever the team requires of me. Also, we have a few payers I have played with in the team and I’m familiar with everyone in the West Indies systems, so I know I will fit in with the team unit.”
Walsh attended the Antigua Grammar School and is a member of Liberta Cricket Club in Antigua where he is a team-mate of Rahkeem Cornwall, who was named in the Test squad for the upcoming series against Afghanistan.
TEST – Jason Holder (captain), Shai Hope, John Campbell, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shimron Hetmyer, Shamarh Brooks, Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich, Sunil Ambris, Jomel Warrican, Rahkeem Cornwall, Kemar Roach, Keemo Paul, Alzarri Joseph.
ODI – Kieron Pollard (captain), Shai Hope, Evin Lewis, Shimron Hetmyer, Sunil Ambris, Nicholas Pooran, Brandon King, Roston Chase, Jason Holder, Hayden Walsh Jr, Khary Pierre, Sheldon Cottrell, Keemo Paul, Romario Shepherd, Alzarri Joseph.
T20I – Kieron Pollard (captain), Nicholas Pooran, Evin Lewis, Shimron Hetmyer, Sherfane Rutherford, Brandon King, Fabian Allen, Hayden Walsh Jr, Jason Holder, Lendl Simmons, Khary Pierre, Sheldon Cottrell, Denesh Ramdin, Kesrick Williams, Alzarri Joseph.