Brandon King’s management team says the batsman remains committed to playing the longer format for West Indies despite making himself unavailable for the Test cricket tour of Australia next month.
On Wednesday the Desmond Haynes-led selection panel named seven uncapped players in a 15-member West Indies squad as some established players including former skipper Jason Holder turned down selection.
Holder, the West Indies premier Test match all-rounder, cited his intention to focus on Twenty20 (T20) cricket in preparation for the World Cup to be hosted in the Caribbean and the United States next summer.
The 29-year-old King, a regular in the West Indies white-ball teams, has featured in 44 T20 Internationals and 37 One-Day Internationals. But he has never played Test cricket, though he has repeatedly expressed interest in the format.
Questions were raised in some quarters when the Jamaican right-hander was not among the Kraigg Braithwaite-captained Test squad to Australia given he is considered one of the top batting prospects in the region.
Brad Gillings, the managing director of GGSM Sports — the agency which represents King — told the Jamaica Observer that the player made the decision with an eye on the T20 World Cup.
“Brandon had opted out of the opportunity to be a part of the West Indies Test squad for the tour to Australia,” he said.
“He [King] had meetings with both the head coach Andre Coley and head of selectors Desmond Haynes and given the circumstances and the upcoming T20 World Cup, he has decided to focus on gaining more experience and preparing for the T20 format.
“It’s important to note that playing Test cricket remains his [King’s] ultimate goal, and he is sincerely grateful [to have been] considered for the opportunity. Brandon hopes to be considered for future Test series and is committed to pursuing his passion for the longer format of the game,” the player’s agent noted.
He said King is set to play for Rangpur Riders in the Bangladesh Premier League T20 tournament starting in January, but is to join the West Indies team for the white-ball leg of the Australia tour.
With the rising popularity of T20 cricket, particularly over the past 10 to 15 years, many West Indies players have opted out of representing the regional side and have instead explored options in lucrative franchise leagues around the globe.
The two-Test series between Australia and West Indies is set to run from mid- to late January. The white-ball leg of the tour, which is to feature three One-Day Internationals and as many T20 matches, is scheduled from early to mid-February.