Jonathan Carter © Getty Images
Jonathan Carter smashed a whirlwind 111 from 68 balls for Barbados Tridents in CLT20 2014 clash against Cape Cobras © Getty Images (File photo)

Jonathan Carter smashed a ton for the Barbados Tridents against the Cape Cobras at the Champions League T20 (CLT20), 2014. However, later in the day, he endured the heartbreak of losing the game in the Super Over. In conversation with Nishad Pai Vaidya, Carter spoke about his journey so far, the latest ton and batting in India.

Jonathan Carter witnessed joy and despair on the same day at the Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2014. Carter would have felt on top of the world when he scored his maiden T20 ton against the Cape Cobras at Mohali. A few hours later, he sat with his head on the ground, crestfallen having failed to beat the Cobras in the Super over. In many ways, it mirrors the unpredictable nature of the T20 format, where fortunes can swing like a wild pendulum. It is almost impossible for the Barbados Tridents to make it through to the semi-finals, but Carter says they are up for the next two games, “Cricket goes on. We have had two close games, which we lost and the only thing you can do is learn and move on and look ahead to the other two games.”

This century though would certainly make the world take notice of Carter’s potential. With some heavyweights in the side during the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), Carter’s opportunities in the side were few. The CLT20 has allowed him a spot at No 4 and he capitalized with that ton. Walking in at seven for two early in the innings, he had a crucial role to play with Dilshan Munaweera. “I came out and took a stock of what was going on. We had lost two early wickets. The powerplay was on and I tried to rotate the strike and then finish with bang,” says Carter.

The opposition had some quality bowlers in their ranks. An attack featuring Charl Langeveldt, Vernon Philander and Robin Peterson to name a few can cause some serious problems for the opposition. Carter faced the challenge of imposing himself on them and guiding the Tridents through the innings. “It was a privilege to play against the likes of Langeveldt, Philander, Peterson and others. It was a quality line-up. You could say that I backed myself and I carried the confidence from the last game,” Carter says.

There was fearlessness in Carter’s strokeplay. It was a thrill to watch him dance down the track to the seamers and smash them cross-batted, with his feet off the ground.  Carter says, “It is something I have been working on for couple of months. I started back home in the University of West Indies, then played the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), where I worked with Robin Singh. At the university, I was training with Floyd Reifer. At the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA), I worked with Emerson Trottman and other coaches. There was a lot of training and hard-work. I worked on it with a lot of other shots.”

Not many know that this isn’t Carter’s first tour to India. Back in 2013, he visited the country with the West Indies A. In a one-day game against India A at Bangalore, he smashed 133 to help West Indies A script a victory. That Indian attack featured Jaydev Unadkat and R Vinay Kumar, who have played international cricket. Carter does like batting on Indian wickets, “Surfaces here are a lot different from the ones in Barbados, which have a lot of bounce. Here it is quite easier to bat on where the outfield is lightening quick and the boundaries are small. I find it easy to bat here in India. This was my second hundred in India. The first one came at Bangalore against the India A side. I quite like India.”

With stints with the West Indies A and outings at the CLT20, Carter is trying to use it to improve his game. He does say that he has a lot more to learn, “You watch on television and tend to ask a lot of questions.  You try to better your game and understand. Experience wise, I have gained a lot. I still have a lot to learn. I am glad I could be here and have this experience and be successful.”

This ton has brought Carter’s batting to the limelight, but he also bowls some medium pace. With the depth in bowling in the Tridents side, Carter doesn’t get the opportunities. But, he does bowl for the West Indies A and Barbados. An interesting detail is that at the age of nine, he once took nine wickets for nine runs in school cricket in Barbados. Playing for Andrews Primary, he made a mark with his cricketing skills. At the age of ten, he bettered that bowling display by taking ten wickets for nine runs. And, he then went on to score two back-to-back tons. Having shown that promise at a young age, he moved through the ranks and was in the Barbados side at 18.

“There was a lot of hard work to get to this stage. I worked with a lot of coaches along the way. Anthony Headley, Emerson Trottman, Vasbert Drakes,  Floyd Reifer, Stephen Leslie to name a few. All of them have played a huge role in my career. My mum and dad, they played a very important part in my career,” Carter says. But, the journey may have just taken a turn for Carter with this turn. Who knows, an Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise may be interested come the auctions next year? If he continues to show promise for West Indies A, international exposure too may be possible.

Complete coverage of Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2014

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)