Johnson Charles is touted as a promising player of the future with incredible big hitting ability. He has already been likened to a right-handed Chris Gayle. Although still only 24, Charles has proved himself a valuable asset for the West Indies in ODI and T20 cricket.
Charles is yet to play a Test match for the West Indies, but he has played a handful of matches in the shorter formats. His international debut came in 2011 against England in a T20 international at the Oval. It was a mixed occasion for the big hitting St Lucian youngster. Charles top scored with a fluent 36, but his departure sparked a horror collapse that saw the West Indies lose its final eight wickets for just 28 runs. England had no trouble hauling in the meagre target, eventually winning by ten wickets.
His ODI debut was another loss; this time a 64 run hammering at the hands of Australia in 2012. The then 23 year old worked his way into the series, hitting a polished 45 in the third game. Charles has only played five matches since then, and 45 remains his highest score.
The big hitting batsman has enjoyed more exposure in T20 cricket, where he has made 13 appearances. An impressive domestic campaign saw him elevated to the national squad for the World T20 tournament in Sri Lanka in 2012. After batting down the order in the first two games, Charles opened in the third match against England at Pallekele. His 103 opening stand with Chris Gayle laid the platform for a crushing win that catapulted their charge to the title. His knock of 84 off just 56 deliveries included ten boundaries and three maximums. It is his best score in any form of the game, and highlights his ability to reach and even clear the ropes with ease.
Sadly, Charles couldn’t maintain his hot form throughout the tournament. Scores of 12, 8 and 10 left him a broken man heading into the final. And while his teammates were able to celebrate the win over Sri Lanka, Charles capped off his long run of outs with a duck.
While Charles has plenty of potential, he is in desperate need of some runs. He enters the Australian tour with just 52 runs from six innings in the Caribbean T20 League; a far cry from the man he was just four months ago.