Monday, December 5, 2022

CWI: #OnThisDay – Johnson Charles recalls the glory of October 7, 2012

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October 7th has a special place in West Indies cricket history. On this date 10 years ago, the West Indies won the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup for the first time – starting a legacy that would see them dominate the shortest format for close to a decade. That day Daren Sammy’s team ruled the cricketing world when they stunned home team Sri Lanka in an epic final at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.

Marlon Samuels took centre stage with one of the greatest performances in the format’s history – which earned him the Man-of-the-Match award and secured a memorable triumph – as she scored a match-winning 78. After losing the opening match to Australia, a clash with Ireland was washed out leaving them second in the group on net run rate. They were beaten by Sri Lanka in the Super 8 stage but a Super Over win over New Zealand secured progression to the last four. Then came revenge against the hosts in the final, Samuels shining with the bat and Sunil Narine claiming 3-9 for a famous 36-run victory. 

Johnson Charles was the opening batsman in that final. He didn’t get going in the big match, but earlier in the tournament scored a whirlwind half century against England – a career-best 84 off 56 balls – which played a big hand in West Indies advancing. Today, he’s the only member of that 2012 winning team to be part of the squad for the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup in Australia.

The wicket-keeper/batter spoke to CW Media about the wonderful memories of Sunday October 7, 2012

Tonight we take on the Australians at the Gabba, where I got a good half-century when we played against them in 2013, a few months after we won the World Cup. That too was a good memory. We’re here for the T20 World Cup and we are looking to make it three titles. No other team has won it twice, so we have a rich legacy. Back in 2012 I was a youngster making my way in the game, now I’m one of the more experienced members of the squad, so 10 years later it about trying to make it happen again for the people of the West Indies. It feels good to be back and be part of the team as we look to make it three in 10 years.

Your first World Cup win, a day you will never forget?!

It was a very exciting time. I was a very young coming up in the game, so you know just being there and being part of history was amazing. Today is that date in history, and it feels good just reminiscing. I was a truly great memory … something I will remember always…. A highlight of my career.

What about that match stood out?

That innings by Marlon under so much pressure was just up there! He was always known as a ‘big game player’ and he came through for us at that time, so it was it was brilliant on his part and brilliant on our part to lifting that trophy. His knock gave us the momentum to go out and defend the total. We were full of confidence when we took to the field and that showed in the way we bowled and how we fielded.

Your first World Cup win, a day you will never forget?!

That innings by Marlon under so much pressure was just up there! He was always known as a ‘big game player’ and he came through for us at that time, so it was it was brilliant on his part and brilliant on our part to lifting that trophy. His knock gave us the momentum to go out and defend the total. We were full of confidence when we took to the field and that showed in the way we bowled and how we fielded.

What about the moment you held the trophy?

It was heavier than I thought (laugh). It was great to get my hands on it and lift it in the air, a kind of symbolic gesture that you were lifting all the people of the West Indies high in the air and thanking them for their support. Emotions were so high everybody was jumping around and celebrating …  that feeling was just so something I still can’t describe to this day … 10 years later you can still feel it… so you know it was big!

Now, back in the team, and back in Australia for the 2022 edition?

Tonight we take on the Australians at the Gabba, where I got a good half-century when we played against them in 2013, a few months after we won the World Cup. That too was a good memory. We’re here for the T20 World Cup and we are looking to make it three titles. No other team has won it twice, so we have a rich legacy. Back in 2012 I was a youngster making my way in the game, now I’m one of the more experienced members of the squad, so 10 years later it about trying to make it happen again for the people of the West Indies. It feels good to be back and be part of the team as we look to make it three in 10 years.

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