Dubai: Oshane Thomas, the new kid in the block among West Indies fast bowlers, may be just 23 years old - but has seen enough of the rough life. The shock of losing a teenaged brother to bullets of a drug-running mafia in Clarendon of Jamaica was a hard one on him and the family - albeit it’s often a familiar story in the Caribbeans.
‘‘I was nine or 10 around that time and didn’t know much about life, but it was hard on my mother,’’ grunts Oshane as the shooting crew of Caribbean Premier Leagues drives him to Clarendon - from where his journey began. The CPL has produced three short films on Thomas, Keemo Paul and Rovman Powell as promotional ones for the 2020 edition of the league, scheduled as of now between August 19 and September 26.
As they near the town, the giant fast bowler asks the driver to pull up on the side of the road and points out at a strip of green where the shooting took place. ‘‘It was not a gang war or anything but a case of mistaken identity. They shot him on the leg and as he couldn’t run, they put six bullets into him,’’ Oshane chokes somewhat after all these years, the emotions being still raw.
‘‘The next five-six years were tough, but you ultimately move on,’’ he says before taking the TV crew through the rest of his journey from school to the neighbourhood cricket club - where he had his first brush with local pace deities Michael Holding and Courtney Walsh and during his growing up days.
The CPL film on him, produced by Trombone Productions and Sunset+Vine, opens up with a shot of Oshane catching Chris Gayle in front of the wicket as the commentators gush over his speed and accuracy. ‘‘Oshane is a very quiet guy but with his kind of pace, he is going to make it big for Jamaica as well as the West Indies,’’ Gayle says in the film soon after the shot of his dismissal. Andre Russell, another senior pro of West Indies and the world of franchise cricket, says: ‘‘You cannot get mad at Oshane.’’
Having made his international debut in 2018, Thomas has so far played 20 One Day Internationals and 10 T20s, picking up 27 and nine wickets, respectively.
The New Year did not quite begin in a promising note for the fast bowler when Thomas escaped a serious injury after being involved in a motor accident in Jamaica. “Thomas was reportedly involved in a two-vehicle collision on Highway 2000 near Old Harbour in St. Catherine and was taken to hospital. WIPA’s executive and staff would like to extend our sympathies to Oshane. We wish for him a speedy and full recovery,” a statement said.
Speaking about the three films, CPL’s Head of Production Paul Pritchett-Brown said: “When documenting sports people it is their on field talent that is usually the focus, but behind every successful athlete is a story of where they came from, the people who made their careers possible and the defining moments in their lives that give them the drive and focus to become the best in the world at what they do. It was a privilege to be able to go to where these impressive young men came from and to tell their stories.”
While Thomas’ film is already up on CPL’s Youtube, the release dates of other two are: May 22 for Keemo Paul and June 5 for Rovman Powell.