Oshane Thomas, who has been named among the reserve players for West Indies’ upcoming tour of England, is eyeing a Test debut with international cricket set to resume after a hiatus forced by the Covid-19 pandemic. Thomas, 23, has played 20 ODIs and 12 T20Is since his debut in late 2018, and picked up five-wicket hauls in both limited-overs formats. He’s set on cracking the longest format now, an ambition that Thomas said coach Phil Simmons supports.
“I definitely want to play Test cricket; I want to do well in all three formats,” Thomas told the Jamaica Observer. “Test cricket is really the ultimate that everyone wants to play to be great. You don’t want to just be an average cricketer; you want to be among the greats.
“Coach Phil [and I], we always have a talk. He says I can’t be bowling that fast – probably bowling the fastest in the Caribbean – and not play in his Test team.”
Thomas had done well in his last outing for West Indies before cricket – and life – came to a standstill due to the coronavirus. He took 5 for 28 and 1 for 24 as West Indies swept Sri Lanka 2-0 in a T20I series in the first week of March. His performance was especially significant since it came after Thomas escaped with minor scrapes from a car crash in February.
With no cricket since that Sri Lanka tour, Thomas said he has been concentrating on getting match fit, with a training camp at the Sabina Park in Jamaica.
“Coming back from the Sri Lanka tour – a good series [and taking] a five-wicket haul – and then the pandemic just came into play and no cricket,” Thomas said. “Last week is my first week back bowling on a pitch. I had been doing some little bowling here and there. I’m very happy to be back bowling and I’m looking forward to playing Test cricket. It’s just up to me as a person; I just need to be fit and ready, and I should be in the Test team.”
The accident and subsequent lack of cricket, interrupted by the two T20Is in Sri Lanka, has left Thomas not yet at full fitness.
“I’m not going to say I’m at 100 [per cent], but I think I’m aware of where I want to be,” he said. “Only thing I’d probably be short of now is match fitness because I haven’t played for about three months now. Coming back from a car accident [in which] fortunately I just got some scrapes, but the car flipped a few times so I got jerked up here and there. Now I’m just feeling some stiffness because I just started bowling back at full speed but otherwise I’m all right.
“I just want to relax, bowl, put the ball in the right areas and let the ball do the work. Even if I’m not playing I’ll be training and keeping my fitness up. If I’m not playing I want to learn as much as a can.”