SPORTS

Aldane Thomas — Exciting Young Jamaican Cricketer

A Talent From God!

Photo credit: Sportsmax

Aldane Oraine Thomas is one of the youngest cricketers parading his skills on cricket pitches throughout the Caribbean. This 23-year-old Jamaican is no ordinary cricketer behind the stumps with the gloves or before with the bat — his agility as a wicketkeeper and batsmanship are described as not only stylish but also appealing and easy on the eyes.

Thomas was born in Albion Mountain in St. Mary, a parish located in the northeast section of Jamaica.

He was a standout schoolboy cricketer at Holmwood Technical High School before representing Jamaica at the under-19 level. He currently plays his senior cup cricket for the St. Mary Cricket Club.

He made his senior debut for Jamaica at the 2012–13 Caribbean Twenty20 tournament, at age 18, replacing veteran Carlton Baugh as the team’s wicket-keeper.

Despite playing in all seven of his team’s matches at the tournament, Thomas was ignored by the selectors for other competitions during the 2012–13 season.

However, in the 2015-16 Regional Super50, he was selected in the Jamaican squad where he featured in all the team’s matches.

Additionally, Thomas made his first-class debut in February 2016, playing against the Windward Islands in the 2015–16 Regional Four-Day Competition.

He, however, grabs media attention after an enterprising century playing in his sixth first-class cricket match for a Jamaica Select XI against the touring England Lions team.

Thomas batted with the poise and confidence of a seasoned campaigner against a quality England Lions bowling attack and has gotten local fans talking about his natural talent and strength of character.

A closer look at his exceptional innings speaks to the potential future of this naturally talented young batsman.

Thomas came in to bat with the Jamaica XI tottering at 36 for four and guided the team to a respectable 236 – a mere 27 runs deficit. He displayed a compact technique and a determination to survive in less than ideal batting conditions which is very rear among batsmen of his age in the West Indies currently.

He also displayed the rear skill of farming the strike with the lower order batsmen, his 80-run partnership with number 10 batsman Gordon Bryan was particularly impressive.

His overall positive approach to the innings speaks to his natural talent and his confidence in himself as a cricketer, players like these need to be nurtured and encouraged to be the best that they can be.

One way that the managers of Jamaican Cricket can help to grow the career of Aldane Thomas is by giving him the opportunity to play at the first-class level on a consistent basis. He only played in three matches in the recently concluded four-day tournament and played in two games in 2016. This limited playing time has not helped him to develop as a player, and the leaders of Jamaica’s Cricket need to change this going forward.

I am confident that if this young batsman is given the opportunity to play, he will blossom into an outstanding wicket-keeper batsman since he has all the attributes required.

The West Indies team currently needs a wicket-keeper batsman, who is excellent behind the wickets and at the same time able to contribute valuable runs at the back end of the innings. Shane Dowrich has failed miserably in this regard, and Dinesh Ramdin has not done much better over his long test career.

Throughout the West Indies, there is no stand out wicket-keeper batsman that has positioned himself to make the role his own. Young Aldane Thomas can surely be a candidate for this role soon if given the opportunity in first-class cricket.

To halt the current free fall in West Indies Cricket, the stakeholders must make some bold decisions regarding identifying and promoting cricketers with unique talent and lending the necessary support to facilitate their development.

One such policy can be coordinating with local boards to fast track cricketers with obvious talent into playing for their regional teams in order harness their talent. Cricket West Indies can also organize for touring teams such as English County teams, teams from the Australian First Cricket competition or any other First-Class Cricket teams from the leading Test-playing nations to visit and play against a West Indian Select XI. This West Indian Select Team would include emerging talents such as Aldane Thomas and would provide them with a platform to showcase their talent and to develop into world-class Cricketers.

Finally, fans and pundits will be observing the next steps in the career of the talented Aldane Thomas to see whether the stakeholders in West Indies Cricket will try to propel his career forward or just allow him to lose interest in the game like many before him.

Certainly, I will be watching with keen interest!

Readers Bureau, Contributor

Edited by Jesus Chan

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