Alfonso Thomas is the first man coach Justin Langer would pick in any limited-overs team and the move to recruit the right-arm quick for the Big Bash League is paying dividends for the Perth Scorchers.
Thomas took a career-best 4-8 from 3.1 overs in a performance that guided the Scorchers to a 51-run win over the Melbourne Renegades at the WACA Ground on Saturday night.
The victory was Perth's third in succession and moved them into the top four.
Openers Shaun Marsh (85) and Herschelle Gibbs (56) combined for a 78-run partnership that laid the platform for the home side's 3-187.
Thomas and Jason Behrendorff (3-44) then did the early damage to the Renegades' top order.
Thomas claimed the wickets of Dan Harris (7) and Marlon Samuels (0) inside the first five overs to give the Scorchers the upper hand.
He later snared two tail-enders to complete a stunning performance.
Thomas missed the Scorchers' losses to Adelaide Strikers and Melbourne Stars but has played a key role in their three wins since, conceding just 4.91 runs an over while taking eight wickets, the most of any Scorcher, at an average of 6.25.
The statistics put him in the upper echelon of bowlers in the tournament.
Langer said Thomas' contribution went beyond the playing field.
"Alfonso Thomas would be my first player picked in any team because I know how good he is at the death in one-day cricket," Langer said.
"He bowls so well and can bowl with the new ball, but most of all it's just his attitude.
"He's like a little street fighter, he's great in the change room and he's a fantastic person."
Thomas arrived in Perth earlier in the month and was forced to watch the round-two home game against the Stars from the stands before being picked in round three.
He said he relished the chance to bowl at the WACA Ground and said the conditions were a far cry from those at his home ground in Eng- land, Somerset's county ground.
"I was swinging it both ways at one point and if the ball comes out like that you've definitely got to fill your boots as a bowler," Thomas said.
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