KINGSTON, Jamaica (CMC) — Brandon King has brushed aside suggestions of pressure on players in the upcoming series against New Zealand, the three Twenty20 Internationals marking the final games before West Indies head to the T20 World Cup in Australia this October.
Very few players impressed in the just-concluded five-match series against India which West Indies lost 4-1, raising question marks over changes to the squad for the showpiece later this year.
However, King said the series was simply another opportunity to perform, and noted players were focussed on executing their game plans against New Zealand, when the tour opened with the first game at Sabina Park on Wednesday.
"I wouldn't say [there is any pressure]. I wouldn't say this series is any different to the previous ones we have played," said the Jamaican, who will be playing before his home crowd for the first time in an international.
"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 T20 Internationals when they suffered heavy defeats in the doubleheader at the Central Broward County Park Stadium in Florida last weekend.
And the Black Caps are expected to present an equally stern test with the likes of Kane Williamson, Trent Boult, Devon Conway, Martin Guptill and Tim Southee all included in a strong 15-man squad for the tour.
King, who has been in decent nick with two half-centuries in 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 games over the last 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 T20 World Cup last November before losing to Australia.
King said the key to any success against New Zealand would be consistency.
"It is 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 stressed.
"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 T20 International bowls off at 1:30 pm (2:30 pm Eastern Caribbean time).
SQUADS: West Indies – 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 – 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