WEST INDIES Emerging Players skipper, Yannic Cariah, has credited belief as the the driving force behind his team’s success after lifting the Colonial Medical Insurance Super50 Cup in their debut.
The youngsters proved doubters, who called them rejects from their national teams, wrong and marched to the title with a staggering 205-run win, over Leeward Islands Hurricanes, on Sunday night, at the Queen’s Park Oval, St Clair. Cariah expressed delight over their “fairytale ending,” and credited the coaching staff led by Floyd Reifer and Ryan Austin for motivating them to the trophy.
“It was a fairytale ending. Throughout this tournament, we had some tough times and some great times but, in the end we came out on top. We had a meeting the night before and (bowling coach) Ryan Austin told me I was going to be man-of-the-match so, that’s the kind of confidence boost we were given,” the captain said after the match. “If you don’t have the belief, you’d never win this. No one thought we’d reach the final, much less win. But I knew once we trust the process and play(ed) our brand of cricket, no one will beat us.”
Cariah had a relatively tame competition but came to the fore with 34 and three for eight as he claimed man-of-the-match honours as predicted. “It (the award) means a lot. At the start of the tournament, I wasn’t well. I played with the flu and my body wasn’t 100 per cent. I wasn’t scoring enough runs for the team but the guys believed in me, they believed in my bowling as well,” he said.
Cariah said this kept him driven, as well as his charges, who relied on USA beating Guyana to qualify for the semis from Zone B. A loss to TT Red Force, where they were bowled out for 78, left the Emerging Players close to an exit. On home soil, though, the former Red Force all-rounder kept reminding his players once they made it into the semis, they’d advance. And, so they did after chasing 112 to win against Barbados Pride.
“I told the guys once we got through the TT game, win or lose, we could move on. We supported USA in the Guyana game and I knew if we got through the semi-final, we’d win the tournament. We have a balanced team and I know the calibre of [our] players. The belief everyone had was unbelievable,” Cariah said, thanking Reifer and his staff for helping them mentally prepare for this achievement.
Cariah also wished his tenacious West Indies U-19 players the best for next year’s World Cup after countryman Leonardo Julien made 83 in the final. Kimani Melius and Ashmead Nedd were also U-19 players he paid tribute to, pointing to Nedd and Guyanese colleague Kevin Sinclair as spin twins who played major roles for him. “They have a lot of confidence in themselves. They always want to bowl. I have never seen two energetic youngsters like them. I told them once they do the job, they’ll get the ball,” he said. Sinclair ended the tournament with 13 wickets, including a four-for in the final, while Nedd concluded with 11 scalps.