He was on the verge of becoming one of the forgotten people of West Indies cricket, but has now been named in the World Cup Qualifiers squad.

Johnson Charles became the forgotten man of West Indies cricket after his – and his – second T20 World Cup title in 2016. Since the end of that tournament and the start of the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia, Charles has played just five T20Is.

But, after a strong return in CPL 2022

he returned to the West Indies’ T20I set-up earlier this year, and scored a 39-ball century at Centurion – the fastest by a West Indies in a men’s T20I, beating Chris Gayle’s 47 A better century effort.

Although Charles was not scheduled to travel to the United Arab Emirates with the West Indies ODI team for the current three-match series, Devon Thomas’ suspension opened the door for an unexpected return to the format.

In his first ODI in almost seven years, Charles scored 24 off 19 balls and followed that up with a match-winning knock of 63 off 47 balls in the second ODI, showing that he is by no means finished. And that should not be forgotten.

Charles’ core strength is still intact: clear the front leg and swat the ball on the leg side. But he has also expanded his game by hitting with equal power under the ground and through the off side. The new-found range was showcased on a hot and humid evening in Sharjah on 6 June.

Charles said after the second ODI,”It’s not much, but I’m just trying to maintain my balance and not over-hit the ball and have a strong base. I am working.”

The Darren Sammy effect

Charles 2.0 appeared in CPL 2022, where he scored 345 runs in nine innings at an average of 43.12 and a strike rate of 133.20 for St. Lucia Kings. His coach was Darren Sammy. Charles and Sammy are far behind. Sammy was Charles’ first T20I captain and won two T20 World Cup titles together. There is a stand named after Charles at the Beausejour Stadium in Saint Lucia, named after Sammy.

Charles praised Sammy’s leadership skills as the West Indies won the series 2–0 against the United Arab Emirates with one match to spare. “It’s not just about me. It [Sammy’s leadership] has a positive impact on the performance of every person because he is an inspirational leader,” Charles said. “Then this positivity will rub off on others, and it will definitely motivate us to do our best.”

“The positivity as No. 1 is definitely up there, and it’s inspiring. Those are the two main things I can highlight right now about his coaching.”

The UAE are currently ranked 19th in ODIs and their team is in flux, with Robin Singh recently ending his role as Director of Cricket after a long lean patch, and Mudassar Nazar The team has taken temporary charge. Charles, however, insisted that the West Indies have not taken the UAE lightly and are happy with their progress in the lead-up to the 2023 ODI World Cup qualifiers, which are set to begin on June 18 in Zimbabwe.

“People say they want, and they decide,” Charles said. “It’s quite fair, but we know that we never take any opposition team lightly. So, saying that, it’s very good that we came away with a series win. Ab tak two mein se two , and you know the team is playing very well.” As a unit. We are definitely playing to our strengths and working on that, and how we want to play in the World Cup Qualifiers. SoHe took them lightly. That’s a good thing.”

Since CPL 2022, Charles’ franchise has been doing well in the T20 league. Especially in the final of BPL 2023 in February, where he scored an unbeaten 79 off 52 balls from number 4 to give Comilla Victorians their fourth title. He also earned a call-up to the Kolkata Knight Riders squad for IPL 2023, but did not get any games.

Charles said about the change, “Go back to the basics and try to fix them every time; if not, most of the time.” “He’s working for me [in T20 cricket] with a positive mindset. Yes, I missed a bit [in the second ODI in Sharjah] and that made my wicket fall and you know it’s coming.” is.” ”

Charles was on Thursday included in the West Indies ODI squad for the World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe* as a replacement for injured spinner Gudakesh Moti. And although Kyle Meyers, who is making a fresh start in the IPL with Lucknow Supergiants, is set to partner Brandon King at the top, further contributions in Sharjah’s oppressive heat could put him in contention for a starting spot. .

Many did not give Charles a chance to return to the West Indies side, but he is now the only man in the XI who was included as a player with the current team that defeated England in the T20 World Cup final in 2016.

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