Gayle gives Charles vote of confidence
KINGSTON, Jamaica, CMC – Chris Gayle believes once rookie stroke-maker Johnson Charles can learn quickly and improve his shot selection, he can become a dangerous batsman in world cricket.
The 23-year-old Charles has played just five One-Day Internationals and six Twenty20 Internationals but has already shown glimpses of great attacking potential. Gayle, who played with Charles for the first time in last weekend’s T20 double-header in Florida, said he was impressed with the right-hander’s approach.
“Charles is very young. I got the first opportunity to bat with him in Florida on two occasions and we actually got to build a partnership together,” Gayle said.
“He is a very strong minded person, a very attacking person. I think the quicker he can actually learn, the more destructive he can become as a batter.
“[He] is a very aggressive batter. Once he can curb his game [I expect him to be successful]. Shot selection is also going to be key.”
Charles made his international debut last September in the T20 doubleheader against England in London, reeling off two small cameos at the top of the order to make an impression.
He also impressed against Australia in his debut ODI series in March earlier this year, starring with an exciting 45 in the tied third encounter at Arnos Vale.
Gayle said Charles was one of the several young batsmen in the West Indies set-up with potential.
“Young (Adrian) Barath, (Kieran) Powell and (Darren) Bravo are still in contention for selection so the future looks bright so for those youngsters,” said the experienced Jamaican.
“The more they can learn the earlier, it will be better for them.”
The presence of these young players, coupled with the return of seasoned campaigners like Gayle and all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, has made West Indies one of the favourites for September’s World Twenty20 Championship in Sri Lanka
But Gayle was quick to dispel these suggestions, contending that the T20 format was too unpredictable to install one team as favourite.
“When you look at the team, we have a strong all-round team. [But] in T20, you don’t want to put a team as favourite … because even the weakest team can beat you in T20 cricket,” said Gayle, the premier batsman in world T20 cricket.
“One particular batter can change a game and take it away from you. One good over can change a game. All the teams are capable of winning. When you look at India, South Africa, [and] Sri Lanka at home are always dangerous.
“It’s going to be tough in Sri Lanka. It’s not going to be walkover, we’ve got to play good cricket. First and foremost, we’ve got to start strong in that tournament when it comes around.”