Teen gloved wonder embraces challenge
KINGSTON – When the Caribbean Twenty20 Cricket Tournament starts in a week’s time a teenage wicketkeeper will be hoping to create an immediate impression.
Jamaican Aldane Thomas says it will be a difficult task to fill the shoes of out-of-favour Carlton Baugh Jr at the upcoming fourth annual tournament, to be hosted jointly by Trinidad and Tobago and St Lucia.
However, given the confidence the national selectors have placed in him, it is something that he is willing to work hard at.
“It will be a really big shoe to fill as Baugh is an international wicketkeeper, and someone I have always admired,” said Thomas, who turned 18 on December 9.
“I like the way he stands up at the stumps from time to time, and his flexibility both on the off-side and down the leg-side.
“But the selectors must have seen something in me why they chose me over the other wicketkeepers that were at the trials, and it is now for me to repay them with some good performances.”
Thomas, who was a standout for Jamaica at the West Indies Under-19 tournament in Barbados earlier this year, was selected ahead of Baugh Jr. after the latter failed to gain an invitation to the national Twenty20 trials.
Baugh Jr. had a fall-out with his club Melbourne and did not participate in the Jamaica Twenty20 Championship, which is a prerequisite for players interested in participating in the national Twenty20 trials.
Thomas, in the meantime, who represented St Mary in the Jamaica Twenty20 Championship, was outstanding with both bat and glove during the national trials, and in the end was chosen ahead of batsman, and established part-time wicketkeeper, Horace Miller.
“It was a bit surprising when I heard I was selected, but I was happy in the end,” said Thomas, who is a past student of Holmwood Technical, and lists Sri Lanka wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara as his favourite player.
“As a youngster, just being invited to the trials was a big moment for me, and I was really looking at it as going there and gaining some experience.
“However, after about the third trial day at Chedwin Park, I realised that both my batting and glove work were as good as, or even better than, the other keepers’, and kept working at my game,” added Thomas.
Jamaica, who have never won the Caribbean Twenty20, will open their account against defending champions Trinidad and Tobago on January 6 at Queens Park Oval.