Thu | Dec 12, 2019

‘It’s a huge honour’ - King thrilled by Windies selection

Published:Thursday | October 17, 2019 | 12:11 AM

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC):

Brandon King and Hayden Walsh both said their selection to the West Indies limited overs squad for next month’s series against Afghanistan had been the fulfilment of a childhood dream.

King, a 24-year-old strokemaker, and Walsh, a 27-year-old leg-spinner, were both called up for the November 5 to December 1 series, which will be played in India and includes a one-off Test.

“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. [I always had] a dream to represent the West Indies. I’m really excited to get started on the upcoming tour,” King said.

“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 enjoyed a successful first-class tournament for his native Jamaica Scorpions, pummelling 630 runs at an average of 48 and capped off the season with 496 runs at an average of 55 for Guyana Amazon Warriors, to be the leading scorer in the just-concluded Caribbean Premier League.

Walsh also impressed on the CPL stage with 22 wickets to be the tournament leader as he helped fire Barbados Tridents to their second title.

STRONG FAMILY BACKGROUND IN SPORTS

Having grown up in Antigua and honed his skills on the island, Walsh boasts a strong family background in sports as his father, the late Hayden Walsh Sr, represented Leeward Islands during the 1980s and 1990s.

His uncle Vaughan Walsh also played for the Leewards as a feared fast bowler while 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 went on to be a star in track and field – and I stuck to the cricket,” said Walsh.

“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 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 on to the field and making a name for myself and helping West Indies win – that’s the main goal.”

Walsh, who has turned out for ICC associates, United States, in a single One-Day International and eight Twenty20s, acknowledged he needed to be at his best for the new challenge.

“It’s going to be a step-up. I’m going to have to zone in and bring my ‘A’ game,” he pointed out.

“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 is a member of Liberta Cricket Club in Antigua where he is teammate of off-spinning all-rounder Rahkeem Cornwall, who was named in the Test squad.