West Indies captain Carlos Brathwaite believes rookie fast bowler Oshane Thomas has a bright future once he continues to improve on the encouraging start to his international career.
The 21-year-old Jamaican was fast-tracked into the Windies limited overs side for the tour of India after playing just two first class matches and though he has not experienced overwhelming success, has raised a few eyebrows with his raw pace.
Sunday’s opening Twenty20 International was a case in point as Thomas bowled with express pace in a four-over spell to claim two for 21 as India wobbled before recovering, to reach a paltry target of 110 at Eden Gardens.
“I don’t know what the long term plans would be for him from the selection panel but I had a few chats with him about using this opportunity,” Brathwaite said.
“He’s in the best place he can be, the place where he wants to be playing in international cricket, representing himself, his family, where he’s from and it’s just for him to understand the opportunity he has, continue to get fitter, get stronger, continue to bowl rapidly and continue to grow as a cricketer and as a person.
“For him, the world is at his feet. I’ll try to guide him as best as I can and ultimately it is for us – the West Indies cricket system – to pull him along and create what could probably be another Joel Garner and Michael Holding.”
Thomas’s display was perhaps the brightest spark in an otherwise dismal West Indies performance as they went down by five wickets to fall behind in the three-match series.
Once again, the Caribbean side were let down by their batting with debutant all-rounder Fabian Allen, who scored 27, the only batsman to pass 20.
“I didn’t think we applied ourselves, we never got into second or third gear,” Brathwaite explained.
“We were either too defensive or too attacking and you can see from the way Fabian and Keemo [Paul] finished that if we had a little more wickets at the back end we could’ve gotten up to 130 and 140, which from what we see in our bowling session, would’ve probably been a winning total.”
West Indies entered the contest with a depleted squad, missing the likes of Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis who were unavailable and Sunil Narine and Andre Russell who are both injured.
Allen and Thomas were among three debutants, with left-arm spinner Khary Pierre also included for his first match.
Brathwaite said despite the inexperience, the squad was anxious to prove their worth on the world stage.
“It’s a young bunch of guys and we want to be fearless and express ourselves. We understand it is a privilege to be representing the West Indies,” he said.
“A lot of guys grew up watching the legends and now we have our chance. Obviously West Indies cricket is not where we want it to be and we’re tasked with getting it back to where it should be.
“So what you saw in the last innings there was the determination, the expression from a young bunch of guys that want to do well, working hard and just happy to be here, and expressing themselves on the biggest stage.”
West Indies take on India in the second T20 International on Wednesday in Lucknow.