Meet Scottish Cricketer Thomas Jones: A Net Bowler for GT Who Wants to Play Ranji Trophy
While there wasn’t any headway as far as cricket was concerned, Thomas followed his girlfriend to India and settled here.
Thomas Jones grew up in Kent, South England and played a lot of Academy cricket there before making the move to Scotland in search of better opportunities. Pre-season gigs with Yorkshire and Durham followed but his main focus was to make it to Scotland’s cricket team.
The tall leggie was putting in the hard yards to take his cricket to the next level before a Gujarati girl, from Ahmedabad, entered his life and they fell in love. During that period, COVID-19 stalled all cricketing activities in the region and separated Thomas from both the game and his girlfriend. While there wasn’t any headway as far as cricket was concerned, Thomas followed his girlfriend to India, decided to get married and settle here and also pursue the cricketing dream.
Words from Thomas:
“Coming from Scotland, living here in Ahmedabad, getting married to a Gujarati girl is a lot of fun. I love India a lot. Really happy to be here. I met her in Scotland and then COVID-19 happened so we got separated for a year and then I followed her here. Now it’s been a year and nine months since I have been here. We have been back once since we’ve been married here in India and Scotland too,” says Thomas in a chat.
About his journey
Ever since moving to India, Thomas continues to train with different clubs in the city to improve his game and finally got a big break when he approached Ashish Nehra and asked him if he could bowl to Gujarat Titans during their nets in Ahmedabad. The head coach agreed and Thomas joined the defending champs the very next day.
“Ashish bhai has been very accommodating, everyone has been very accommodating. It’s the most relaxed and professional environment I have ever been in. And I have only been there for not beyond 2-3 weeks. I came here and asked Ashish bhai if I could come (to bowl in nets) and the next day I was here,” says Thomas.
The youngster couldn’t have asked for a better set-up to get a taste of the IPL experience and picking the brains of people like Rashid Khan and the batters he has been bowling to has improved his skill set.
“Bowling here I have completely changed my bowling run-up. Small, small things you pick and then all the batters give commentary to you. You have to ask good questions after the session, during the session and stuff. The main thing I need to do is bowl quicker than I am bowling right now. I am bowling 88, which I guess is okay but I want to hit 90+,” says Thomas.
The interactions with Rashid too have had a massive impact on his game already and he considers himself “a lucky bloke” to be learning so much in just a few weeks.
“Second day I came here, I spoke to Rash. He spoke to me for 10-15 minutes about what lengths I should bowl – eight feet from the batters and stuff like this. Just small insights that make the biggest difference and you can’t ask to be in a better place. I come here four times a week, spend 6-7 hours with the team. So I am getting a lot of education and consider myself a lucky bloke. I am very lucky to be in an environment which accommodates people from outside also,” says Thomas.
From training with GT for a few weeks to bowling to Lucknow Super Giants when they were here for an away fixture, it’s been a dream come true for Thomas. And bowling to Rohit Sharma on Thursday was definitely a bucket list moment checked.
“It’s fun. Rohit played pretty well in the nets. That was a good challenge and the wicket was a little bit slow. Rohit is a big name. I count my lucky stars because I got to bowl to a player who changed cricket in lots of ways. A lot of opening batters back home in Scotland copy the way Rohit plays,” says Thomas.
“I remember watching the IPL back when I was 13-14 and actually was in love with Mike Hussey and CSK. I never met Mike but Rohit is definitely on the list of people you want to bowl to. And then people like Shubman Gill. Obviously, everyone would want someone like MS Dhoni. So, I have bowled to Shubman a lot, I bowled to Rohit and now only one left is CSK,” says Thomas.
“Since I have moved here, the goals and challenges have changed. Now the challenge is to play Ranji Trophy or the T20s or one-dayers in India and become the first foreign player to do so. Whatever they can give me, to be honest (laughs). Do well there for a couple of seasons and then become one of the names to be picked in the auction. You have to work incredibly hard and I am ready for it,” says Thomas.