Jamaica has over the years been blessed with some supreme fast bowling talent; three of the most outstanding were Michael Holding, Courtney Walsh, and Patrick Patterson.
The country and by extension the entire Caribbean has however seen a shortfall in express pace bowling talent recently, and cricketing fans are getting excited about the potential of pace duo Oshane Thomas and Reynard Leveridge. This exciting pace duo has the attributes to become the bowling Koenigsegg Agera RS of the West Indies with the proper guidance and coaching.
Oshane Thomas is all of 20 years and was identified as an exceptional talent by Chris Gayle in 2016 and was drafted by the Jamaica Tallawahs T20 team. He so far played a total of 4 first-class matches, taking seven wickets at 36 apiece and 5 T20 wickets in 4 games at 20.8 apiece.
He also played for the West Indies A team in two matches against the touring Sri Lanka A team. His best performance so far in his fledgling career is a match-winning 3 for 31 against the St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots while playing for the Jamaica Tallawahs in the recently concluded CPL. The wickets were of some of the best T20 batsmen going around in Chris Gayle, Carlos Braithwaite, and Mohamad Nabi.
This bowling performance shows Thomas’s ability to generate express pace – he bowled at 95 miles per hour consistently throughout the four over spell and rushed the batsmen into strokes due to how quickly the ball got to them. He also demonstrated his ability to exercise tremendous control and accuracy despite his extreme pace, this combination of speed and control augurs well for his future, and opposition batsmen should be mindful of this young bowling sensation.
He is still learning his craft, and his biggest challenges would be to maintain consistency in the longer formats of the game and to remain fit, focused and injury free. If he manages to do this, the West Indies Team will benefit greatly.
Reynard Leveridge is another exciting fast bowling talent in the current Jamaican setup. He is 27 years old and has so far played eight first-class matches, capturing nine wickets at 39.66 and nine list A games taking nine wickets at 30.66.
Leveridge is somewhat of a late bloomer in cricket; he did not play any form of youth cricket in his days at Jamaica College, but was very good at Hockey and represented Jamaica in that sport. It was after he joined the Jamaica Défense Force that he was encouraged by a coach to try fast bowling.
He started taking the game of cricket seriously and was identified by a member of the West Indies selection team as a great potential while bowling in the nets at Sabina Park before a test match between the West Indies and India in 2016. He was fast-tracked into the West Indies A team that toured Sri Lanka that same year but picked up an injury in his first game.
What Leveridge brings to the table as a fast bowler is a tremendous height, thus allowing him to generate bounce; he is also an express pace bowler that has bowled over 90 miles an hour. He bowls with control and is a very aggressive bowler capable of rattling some of the best batsmen in the world.
Leveridge has the potential to be a fearsome fast bowler for Jamaica and the West Indies. However, his primary challenge is to remain injury free so that he can realize his full potential.
Regional batsmen should look out for these two fast and furious Jamaican bowlers; if they do not, they might be pleasantly surprised when they face up to them.
Fans, no doubt look forward to their bowling performances with great anticipation!
Readers Bureau, Contributor
Edited by Jesus Chan
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