No surprise! - People's Choice Award a fillip for Oshane Thomas
This year's winner of the RJRGLEANER Sports Foundation People's Choice Performance Award, Oshane Thomas, was not as surprised as the audience attending the ceremony at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel last Friday night.
The 20-year-old fast bowler upstaged a field decorated with other high-profile nominees - including the likes of sprint hurdler and Sportsman of the Year Omar McLeod, boxer Kemahl 'The Hitman' Russell, Jamaica senior men's football team goalkeeper AndrÈ Blake, and defender Kemar Lawrence - to capture to prestigious accolade.
"It wasn't a surprise," Thomas told The Gleaner afterwards. "I have been getting the support from my school, Trinidad, Guyana, so it wasn't a surprise," he said.
"It is great feeling to lift this award. Even if I didn't win, it was a great feeling just to be in the nominees. It has been giving me a big lift and this is a great feeling to win this award," he added.
Thomas, in a Man-of-the-Match performance against St Kitts & Nevis Patriots' in the Caribbean Premier League Twenty20 tournament last August, took three wickets for 31 runs, including the prized scalp of Chris Gayle for a three-ball duck, a result which virtually booked the Tallawahs place in the play-offs.
That performance has boosted Thomas' career significantly as many have since taken note of the bowler's searing pace, and he believes he has grown in confidence and maturity since then.
"That performance was significant to my career. It gave me a (Windies) 'A' team game, and I did well. I think I grew from there and I have learned a lot. It's just to go back in training and work on a few things" he continued.
The young cricketer is looking to make an even bigger mark this year, starting with the Cricket West Indies Regional Super50 tournament, with the Jamaica Scorpions.
"I have Super50 coming up this month for Jamaica Scorpions and the aim is to go in there and help my team. We will be playing about 10 games and my aim is to get about 30 wickets. That's my aim going into the Super50.
"So I am definitely looking for a better performance this year, and you can expect a better performance from me because 2017 was a great year, and I just want to carry on in 2018," he said.