In a significant development, Johnson Charles has been named as a replacement for Gurakesh Moti in the West Indies’ World Cup squad. Moti’s ongoing struggle with a lower back injury has forced the team management to make the change. The Cricket West Indies (CWI) confirmed the decision, ensuring Charles’ inclusion as the spinner replacement.
Having previously clinched the T20 World Cup for the West Indies in 2016, Charles faced a slump in his international cricket career. However, the 2022 T20 World Cup marked his return to the global stage. Despite playing only five T20Is for the national side at the age of 34, Charles impressed with his exceptional batting performances in the 2022 Caribbean Premier League (CPL), which led to his recall to the West Indies’ squad.
During his absence from the international scene, Charles demonstrated his prowess in the CPL, amassing runs and exhibiting his power-hitting abilities. His quickfire knock of 39 runs off just 19 balls in his first match back showcased his batting talent. Additionally, Charles now holds the record for the fastest half-century in T20Is for the West Indies, surpassing Chris Gayle’s previous feat of reaching 50 in 47 balls.
Charles, however, did not participate in the recent One-Day International (ODI) series against the United Arab Emirates due to allegations of ball-tampering, resulting in a ban for Devin Thomas. Nonetheless, Charles made a remarkable comeback in the ODI squad against the same opponent. In the second ODI, he played a match-winning innings, scoring 63 runs off 47 balls, leading the team to victory.
Although Gurakesh Moti’s injury hindered his chances of recovering fully, Johnson Charles’ inclusion provides West Indies with a bolstered batting lineup as they strive for direct qualification to the World Cup.