The Jamaican speedster is suddenly the talk of the town. Could he be the next great Windies fast bowler?
With real quicks, things happen in fast forward. They can be an obscurity one day, training in the margins, hoping for a sniff – and a feared weapon the next. Nothing stirs the emotions and focuses the minds like the sudden jarring unveiling of a new fast bowler, ripped and ready to shake things up.
So it was that, one evening in Kolkata, the full might of Oshane Thomas gets unleashed on the cricketing consciousness.
The Windies have unearthed a young fast bowler that, at 21, has limitless potential. Blessed with the type of high-end pace that only a few around the world can generate, Thomas has been an open secret for some time in Caribbean cricketing circles.
A barnstorming Caribbean Premier League showing earlier this year for Jamaica Tallawahs saw the local lad fast-tracked to the senior side, and now, after an astonishing opening spell at Eden Gardens in the first T20I, India’s top order – and the rest of the world – can see why.
Lovely composure from Krunal Pandya on his debut match for India and Dinesh Karthik using all his experience to help India win the first T20. WI have a really exciting prospect in Oshane Thomas #IndvWI— VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) November 4, 2018
Having seen him at close quarters, Rohit Sharma, who was on the receiving end of a 147kph thunderbolt that beat him for pace to find the edge, was effusive.
“Oshane is a really exciting talent without doubt,” Sharma said after India’s five-wicket victory. “He’s got good height, plus that jump he takes, if he bowls in the right areas, it won't be easy for any batsman in the world to counter that. He's really talented, and he also has the advantage of height which gives him the extra edge. I wish him the best in the future.”
Sharma wasn’t Thomas’ only victim under the Kolkata lights: Shikhar Dhawan was also upended by a thunderbolt that burst through his drive to send the stumps cartwheeling.
But if Sharma and Dhawan are not a bad couple of scalps with which to begin a T20I career, the Windies brains trust are mindful of not placing too much expectation on the young man’s shoulders.
Shikhar Dhawan v Oshane Thomas - Head to Head in the ODI & T20I Series— The Cricket Prof. (@CricProf) November 4, 2018
Innings - 3
Runs - 10
Dismissals - 3
Balls per Dismissal - 5
False Shot Percentage - 33.3%
In the three innings Dhawan has faced Thomas in ODIs & T20Is, he has been dismissed all three occasions.#INDvWI
Managing his workload at this early stage is essential. He has, to date, played just six first-class matches, and his appearance at Kolkata was just his 34th professional outing.
He may be a man in a hurry, but greenhorn quicks need protection, as his skipper Carlos Brathwaite pointed out.
“We’ve had a few chats with him, and he's in the best place he could be. He understands the opportunities he has, he has to continue to get fitter and stronger. The world is at his feet, it's for West Indies to help him become another Joel Garner or Michael Holding.”
That is heady company to be compared with. But Thomas has the pace of his Jamaican forebear, and the physical presence and penchant for fiery yorkers of Big Bird himself. The secret’s out. Stand well back.
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