"It allowed me to do some soul-searching"- Charles sees focusing on the basics as key to T20I re-emergence after six-year hiatus

By March 27, 2023
Johnson Charles raises his bat after bringing up his record-breaking 39-ball hundred in the second T20I against South Africa on Sunday. Johnson Charles raises his bat after bringing up his record-breaking 39-ball hundred in the second T20I against South Africa on Sunday. Getty Images

South Africa and the West Indies played one of the most amazing games of cricket you will ever see at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Sunday.

In the second of three T20Is, the two teams combined for a record 517 runs including 81 boundaries and 35 sixes as the hosts needed just 18.5 overs to chase down a mammoth 258 set by the West Indies.

The catalyst behind the West Indies’ massive total was an innings from top-order batsman Johnson Charles that can only be described as special.

The 34-year-old right-hander, batting at number three, eclipsed Chris Gayle’s record for fastest T20I hundred for the West Indies, 47 balls against England at the 2016 ICC T20 World Cup, when he brought up his maiden T20I century off just 39 balls.

Charles eventually made 118 off 46 balls including 10 fours and 11 sixes. He said the key to his innings was understanding the conditions.

“You know as a batsman, with such a good pitch and such a small ground, that you don’t have to over-hit the ball. I think that was one of the key points that all the batsmen had in the back of their minds,” he said in a press conference after the game.

This continues a remarkable career resurgence for the St. Lucian, who was a member of the victorious West Indian sides at the 2012 and 2016 ICC T20 World Cups.

After representing the regional side in a three-match T20I series against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi in 2016, Charles was dropped, with many writing him off completely.

“I think being out of the T20 side for six years definitely allowed me to do some soul searching and see where I’ve been going wrong,” Charles said.

After six years on the outside looking in, Charles finally got a second chance to don the West Indian colors when he was, surprisingly to many, selected for the 2022 ICC T20 World Cup in Australia after an excellent 2022 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) which saw him finish as the third-highest run-scorer with 345 runs in nine innings, including four fifties.

Charles played two games at the World Cup and recorded scores of 45 and 22 against Zimbabwe and Ireland, respectively.

Earlier this year, he played an integral role in leading the Comilla Victorians to their fourth Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) title, making 308 runs in nine innings, including a century and a fifty.

“I’ve gone back to the basics,” was Charles’ response to questions about how he has revived his batting.

“I made sure I have those down pat. Just coming back, it’s worked for me and, going forward, I’m just going to have to make sure that I keep focusing on the basics. If I continue doing that then I’ll keep on having great innings,” Charles added.

Hopefully, Charles can continue this form when the West indies take on the South Africans in the decisive third T20I at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

Bradley Jacks

Bradley Jacks is a budding journalist and an avid sports fan. His love of research and sports has led him to SportsMax.tv, a place where those passions work hand in hand to allow him to produce content.

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