Rangpur Riders were seemingly dealt a blow ahead of the January 5 start to the 2019 Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) after speedster Oshane Thomas failed to secure his No Objection Certificate (NOC) from Cricket West Indies (CWI). With the Regional 4-Day Championships set to resume on Thursday, January 4, a day prior to the start of the BPL, it was no surprise that the 21-year-old pacer was not given the go-ahead from CWI to play in the franchise league. Jamaica Scorpions have not gotten the strongest of starts with Guyana and Barbados sitting 1 and 2 respectively, more so with Thomas’ direction heading to Bangladesh could mean the Scorpions are without one of their main weapons
heading into the most crucial stage of the tournament. The Riders picked up the Jamaica fast-man during October’s official BPL draft, where he was set to play alongside Windies and T20 batting legend and fellow countryman Chris Gayle. However, with the NOC not approved and Thomas being named in the Scorpions side, it is likely that the regional batters will have to contest with the right-arm pacer as the CWI would unlikely give permission to play in the BPL. Rangpur will not be without an ace bowler as it is alleged that another Jamaican Windies fast bowler could likely replace Thomas in the squad. Left-arm quick Sheldon Cottrell was tipped as the man who the Riders will turn to now that Thomas is unavailable. Also, with Joe Root and his men set to land in the Caribbean later in January for the biggest Caribbean series in a decade, Thomas could remain fixed within the Region. The pacer shot to fame during the 2018 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) where he was among the top-honoured stars of the tournament, before being shot into the Windies T20 and ODI teams. Meanwhile, the Windies selectors have not yet named the squad for the England
series, but given the hype and the results given by Thomas in just his handful of T20s and ODIs, it is iffy on the selectors behalf to have one of their main strike bowlers play in the BPL rather than a few domestic games before a mega series. Cottrell, on the other hand, will be a great addition to the Rangpur team following his confirmation on Sunday. The left-arm pacer, known for his army salute send-off, was among the key players in the Windies T20 series win versus Bangladesh just a week back, bagging seven victims in the three-match series. The 2019 BPL will bowl off from January 5 and concluded on February 9. (Clifton Ross)
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