I’ve returned to the basics, says in-form Charles
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (CMC):
VETERAN JOHNSON Charles has credited a return to the basics for the resurgence of his Twenty20 International career.
The 34-year-old right-hander only returned to the side last year following a six-year spell on the sidelines and smashed a record-breaking hundred on Sunday against South Africa at SuperSport Park in Centurion, to validate the selectors’ decision.
“I think being out of the T20 side for six years, it’s definitely allowed me to do some soul-searching and see where I’ve been going wrong,” said Charles, following his spectacular 118 in a losing cause.
“I’ve changed my game in that I’ve basically gone back to the basics. I made sure I had the basics on the down.
“Just coming back it’s worked for me and going forward I’m just going to have to make sure that I keep the basics going. I think if I continue doing that I’ll continue having great innings.”
His international career seemed all but finished after he was dropped in 2016, just months after helping West Indies win the T20 World Cup in India.
But after a bumper Caribbean Premier League that saw him gather nearly 350 runs at an average of 43 with four 50s last year, Charles was picked for the disastrous T20 World Cup campaign in Australia when the Caribbean side made an early exit.
In the five innings since his return, Charles had got starts but failed to convert. That changed on Sunday, however, with the St Lucian plundering triple figures off just 39 deliveries – the fastest ever by a West Indies batsman and the joint second fastest ever.
He blasted 10 fours and 11 sixes, helping West Indies to 258 for five – a new record for the Caribbean side in the format. South Africa chased down the target with seven balls to spare, to complete the first-ever 500-run T20I.
“On this field which is a small field, [you can play] conventional cricket shots. You know as a batter with such a good pitch and a small field, you don’t have to overhit the ball,” Charles explained.
“I think that is the key point all the batters had in the back of their minds.”
While admitting it was disappointing to end on the losing side after scoring hundred, Charles said West Indies had only themselves to blame, as they had failed to execute properly in the field.
“It wasn’t a good feeling to be honest. But we know it’s cricket and we expected at some point, if they jump us in the power play, we expect to come back after the power play and bring [the scoring rate] down,” he said.
“But credit to the South African batters, they batted beautifully. They never gave us a chance to come back in the game.
“But having said that, I don’t think we executed our plans to the best of our abilities but once again, well played to the South African batsmen.”
The West Indies rebounded yesterday, beating South Africa by seven runs to clinch their T20I series 2-1.