Thomas delivers for Scorpions
Jamaica Scorpions opening batsman Shacaya Thomas was the second-highest runs-scorer in regional first-class cricket two years ago.
He was, however, lukewarm last season and was in and out of the team at different stages.
Fast-forward to this season, where after finishing as one of the top batsmen in the national trials, he did not get a chance to parade his skills until yesterday.
So what did he do? On seasonal debut, the 27-year-old hit a second-highest score of 64 against Trinidad and Tobago Red Force at Sabina Park, to put Jamaica on 197 for six at the end on the first day of their WICB First-Class Tournament clash at Sabina Park.
"Not bad for me just starting the season," he said following his 249-ball knock.
"The pitch was hard to bat on at the start, but credit to Trinidad. I thought they bowled in some good areas. Instead of coming at us, they played the patient game with us, causing me to play an uncharacteristic innings," Thomas said.
Bereft of his normal attacking flair, Thomas batted throughout all three sessions before falling 17 minutes before the close.
The former West Indies Under-19 representative, who following his breakout season in 2014 was called up to the West Indies 'A' team, also hit four.
"Normally, I am an aggressive player, so facing close to 250 balls and making 64 was really uncharacteristic for me," he stated.
"I have been doing some extra work with coach Robert Samuels and Junior Bennett, so I know I could bat as much balls. It was just to do it in a game."
Starting out with Campbell, who fell for eight within the first 20 minutes of play, Thomas shared in two crucial partnerships for the Scorpions, who have been having batting problems all season long.
The first was with number-three batsman, Barbadian-born Kirk Edwards, who scored 66 to anchor an even 100 runs second wicket stand, and the second with Antiguan-born, Devon Thomas, who made 38, and with whom he put on 66 for the fourth wicket.
Thomas' knock, which was cheered by the sparse crowd that was on hand to witness the match, was also produced amid a penetrative spell of bowling from off-spinner, Jon-Russ Jagessar.
The 29-year-old, who played a key role in Trinidad lifting the regional one-day tournament last month, and was drafted by the Jamaica Tallawahs for the Caribbean Premier League Twenty20 later this year, ended with figures of three for 53.
But what about his thoughts of being left out of the team from the start of the season?
"It is the game of cricket. Today, you up; tomorrow, you down," Thomas said.
"If you check the team, I play as an opener, and the (then) captain (Paul Palmer Jr) and vice-captain (John Campbell) are openers," he shared.
"It would (therefore) have always been difficult to get into the team."
"But I think that nothing happens before its time, so I just had to put in the work and wait until I get my chance.
"Now that I have gotten my chance, I just want to grab it with both hands."
Play is scheduled to resume today at 10:00 a.m.
SCORPIONS 1st Innings
S Thomas lbw b Imran Khan 64
*J Campbell c Lewis b Richards 8
K Edwards lbw Jagessar 66
A McCarthy lbw b Jagessar 14
J Blackwood lbw b Jagessar 1
D Thomas c Emrit b Imran Khan 38
+C Walton not out 1
N Miller not out 1
Extras (lb2, w2) 4
TOTAL (6 wkts, 91 overs) 197
To bat: D Jacobs, M Mindley, S Cottrell.
Fall of wickets: 1-11, 2-111, 3-127, 4-129, 5-195, 6-196.
Bowling: Emrit 16-3-33-0, Richards 16-5-24-1, Khan 31-10-59-2, Jagessar 21-3-53-3, Ottley 5-1-17-0, Mohammed 2-0-9-0.
RED FORCE - *J Mohammed, E Lewis, J Solozano, Y Cariah, K Hope, Y Ottley, +S Katwaroo, R Emrit, M Richards, Imran Khan, J Jagessar.
Umpires: V Smith, L Reifer.