Alfonso Thomas plays for Somerset in 2008. Photo: Action Images / Scott Heavey

CAPE TOWN – Former Proteas seamer Alfonso Thomas is hoping to make an “impact on a really talented bunch of players” after being appointed West Indies bowling coach on Wednesday.

Thomas hails from Ravensmead, where he cut his teeth at Tygerberg Cricket Club – the same team as Proteas Test opening bowler Vernon Philander.

The 41-year-old toiled away for the Western Province ”B” team before pursuing a successful franchise career up north at Easterns, progressing to the Titans before moving back down to the Dolphins.

Although Thomas never played Test cricket for South Africa – he toured India under coach Ray Jennings in 2004 – he did have a taste of international cricket when he played a solitary T20 against Pakistan at the Wanderers in 2007. 

Thomas, though, excelled on the English County Championship circuit for Somerset from 2008 until 2015.

It was during this period – which coincided with the boom of T20 cricket – that Thomas earned a reputation as one of the best “death bowlers” in the world.

His vast array of skills, that included a variety of slower balls and an excellent yorker, earned him contracts at the IPL with Pune Warriors, Dhaka Gladiators in the 2013 BPL and Adelaide Strikers and Perth Scorchers in Australia’s Big Bash.

The former Somerset limited-overs captain, who is ninth on the list of most successful T20 bowlers, has 263 wickets to his name in the format.

It is this expertise that he is hoping to share with a group of young West Indies fast bowlers, especially as the Caribbean outfit are in the process of regenerating an ageing World T20 championship side.

“Really honored to be appointed bowling coach of a team with such great history and hopefully I can impact a really talented bunch of players,” Thomas posted on Instagram on Wednesday, along with a picture of the Windies crest.

All set & ready to go! #newadventure #newbeginnings

A post shared by Alfonso Thomas (@alfonsothomas) on

Thomas is among a host of changes the West Indies Cricket Board have made to their support staff for the current squads, keeping in mind the World Cup Qualifiers and the Women’s World T20 scheduled for later this year.

Former West Indies leg-spinner Rawl Lewis, who previously worked with the side as team operations manager during their successful World T20 campaign in 2016, was named the team manager.

“We are focused on improving team performance, as well as broadening and deepening the coaching expertise in the region,” CWI director Jimmy Adams said. “We know we’ve got vital games and tournaments this year, and we’re confident that these appointments will strengthen the Windies squads for this year and our future plans.”

This all comes after former Titans and Cape Cobras coach Richard Pybus also returned to the Caribbean last week as the new high performance director.

Pybus will work alongside the chairman of selectors and all the technical coaches in the region to improve the high performance programmes and standards within franchise cricket. 

He previously served as CWI director of cricket from October 2013 to December 2016, overseeing the West Indies victories in two ICC World T20s, an ICC Women’s World T20 and an ICC Under-19 World Cup.

IOL Sport

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