The stats behind West Indies' fierce hitter - Johnson Charles
He has neither got a sound technique nor a resilient temperament, but Johnson Charles is still one of the most intimidating openers doing the rounds in limited overs cricket.
There are no half measures when he is batting. India got a bit of his fierce batting when every bowler was put to the sword by Charles’ venom and ferocity in the recently concluded T20 carnival in the United States.
He had the fastest T20 Century in sight in the first T20 versus India at Lauderhill only to be halted by Jadeja’s guile. As a batsman, he is rated highly among the team management and players.
Charles is a batsman who thrives on hand-eye coordination. He is someone who won’t enthral the crowd with copybook hitting, but yet the runs flowing of his bat are entertaining enough to keep the crowd on their toes.
The above preamble is a minor glimpse into Charles’ career. The following data gives a statistical insight into his journey till now.
A potential golden-arm with the ball
Aside from being a destructive batsman in the shortest format of the game, he has got a skill which may not figure among any of his primary responsibilities. He can bowl medium pace at a probing pace. He has, in fact, got 11 wickets in his domestic career.
In first class cricket, he has got best figures of 2 for 14. He also boasts of a bowling average of 33.40 and a strike rate of 48. Even though he has bowled just 18 balls in T20 cricket, he has gone a mile ahead to perform to the best of his abilities. He has picked up 3 wickets in this format at an economy of 7.66 and at an unbelievable strike rate of 6.
The West Indies team can certainly look up to the stats to reap benefits out of Charles’ bowling, especially in conditions where the ball moves around a bit and grips on the pitch.
Charles - The Keeper
Even after representing West Indies in ODI cricket for 42 matches, he is an unknown commodity in this format. It may come as a shocker to many that he has kept wickets in 11 of these games with 10 catches and one stumping to his credit.
He has also kept wickets in two T20 Internationals versus Pakistan.
He had a base price of just 30 Lakhs, but he was not picked by any side in the IPL 2016 auctions – a decision that many clubs would now regret in hindsight.
With the likes of Denesh Ramdin and Andre Fletcher in the ranks, Charles didn’t quite get a fair go with the gloves. The following statistics will throw some light on Charles’ repertoire behind the stumps.
First Class, List A, T-20- A Mixed Bag
Charles made his first-class debut against Combined Campuses and Colleges at Cave Hill in a Regional Four Day Competition in January 2009. In the series, he crawled along to 292 runs in 8 matches at an average of 19.46.
Shambolic performances on a regular basis dented his dreams of making a Test debut. For Charles to make it to the Test team, he needs a bit of patience and determination to earn a spot.
Charles made his List-A debut in November 2008 versus Combined Campuses and Colleges at Guyana’s Enmore Recreation Ground in the WICB Cup. He scored 66 runs at an average of 16.50.
134 boundaries and 32 sixes tell us something about his batting caliber. His numbers in the List A format are not impressive, but his ability to hit the ball hard can’t be dismissed out of sight. While people have witnessed Johnson Charles tear off the leather in international T20’s, his domestic T20 shows haven’t received the same coverage.
With a career strike-rate of 126.73 and an average of 24.90 in T20 cricket, he is an asset to any side in the game’s shortest format.
Since his debut against Cayman Islands in the 2008 Stanford 20/20 playing for St Lucia, he hasn’t taken a step backwards. Though he averaged just 11.50 in the series, he had already kick-started his career. Within the next three years in 2011 made his International T20 debut.
He emerged as the second highest run-scorer in this year’s Caribbean Premier League, notching up 441 runs in 11 matches at an average of 44.10 at a staggering strike-rate of 143.18.
Second in the list, but not second-best
Johnson Charles is only the second cricketer from St. Lucia to represent West Indies in international cricket. He helped his nation achieve the feat when he strolled on to the cricket field at the Kennington Oval in London versus England in his debut International T20 match in 2011.
Former West Indies captain Darren Sammy is the first player from St. Lucia to represent West Indies in international cricket. Coincidentally, Charles made his T20 international debut playing under the captaincy of Sammy.
After his match-winning knock of 52 from 36 balls, St. Lucia Prime Minister declared that a stand will be named after him at the Beausejour Stadium.
A home-loyal otherwise
Before his foray into international cricket, Charles represented the Windward Islands and St. Lucia in domestic cricket. But in the inaugural season of the Caribbean Premier League, he represented the Antigua Hawksbills in 2013.
During the stint, he had the pleasure of sharing the dressing room with the likes of Ricky Ponting and Marlon Samuels. He scored 165 runs at an average of 23.57 which wasn’t considered up to the mark by the Hawksbills and therefore he was released the next year.
The fact that the Hawksbills ended up second-last prompted some changes to their squad and sidelining Charles was one of them.
St. Lucia didn’t waste any time in drafting Charles in their squad and the rest is history.