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I'm ready for the challenge!

Senior staff reporter

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

TOWERING West Indies fast bowler Oshane Thomas is hoping he can use pace and sideways movement to his advantage at the upcoming 50-over Cricket World Cup in England and Wales.

Thomas, the 22-year-old Jamaican, only made his One-Day International (ODI) debut last year, but his role could be pivotal if the West Indies are to do well at the tournament set to run May 30 to July 14.

“For me, personally, I want to use the extra pace and get bounce in England. I want to use my pace and get the ball to move around,” Thomas told the Jamaica Observer on Saturday before his departure to England on Sunday.

Thomas' career has soared since his senior debut in 2016.

His first delivery in first-class cricket was an almost unplayable ball that had veteran,left-hand opener Devon Smith edging a catch behind the wicket.

His reputation has kept growing since, and only earlier this year he was a standout for the West Indies in the ODI series against the touring Englishmen.

Thomas, standing six-foot five-inches tall, snared nine wickets in four innings, including a career-best 5-21. Overall, he has played nine ODIs, accounting for 15 victims at an average of 27.53 and economy rate of 7.22.

“I know there is a big expectation and I'm ready for the challenge. It's a great feeling to be in the World Cup squad. It will definitely be a pressure situation going into the World Cup as a youngster, but I'm mentally prepared for anything that comes. I want to go in there, play hard cricket, and have fun — definitely,” said the pacer who hails from Racecourse in Clarendon.

The West Indies squad are currently camping in Southampton, England, where today they are scheduled to face Australia in an unofficial warm-up fixture at Nursery Ground, adjacent to the Ageas Bowl.

Thereafter, West Indies travel to Bristol where they face New Zealand on May 26 in their first official warm-up encounter at County Ground. Their second official warm-up is scheduled against South Africa at the same venue on May 28.

The Caribbean men clash with Pakistan in their World Cup opener on May 31 at Trent Bridge in Nottingham.

Thomas, who previously experienced conditions in England on a West Indies A team tour, is confident he has what it takes to be successful there.

“That (the A team series) was a good experience. It was same time like this — at the end of spring going into summer — and it was great. I'm ready to give it my best shot, and I know I will do well.

“The warm-up games will help get me used to the conditions and the pitches there. I just want to get in some work there and get ready for the competition,” said the former Garvey Maceo High student.

Australia are reigning 50-over World Cup champions after beating New Zealand by seven wickets in the 2015 final.

West Indies won the first two tournaments — in 1975 and 1979 — but have not lifted the title since.

West Indies squad – Jason Holder (captain), Fabian Allen, Carlos Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Sheldon Cottrell, Shannon Gabriel, Christopher Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Evin Lewis, Ashley Nurse, Nicholas Pooran, Kemar Roach, Andre Russell, Oshane Thomas

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