“I always believe that I can make it to the top” Yannic Cariah belies his lack of T20 experience

Cariah, who played his last T20 in 2016, made his debut against Australia in the first T20I on Wednesday.

The West Indian bowled an economical spell and returned with figures of 4-0-15-1. Bowling on his debut, Cariah dismissed the big-hitting Glenn Maxwell in his very first over.

The 30-year-old, a left-arm batter who bowls leg break, made his international debut last month in the three-match ODI series against New Zealand in Bridgetown. In that series, his exploits were three wickets haul and a half-century.

In the second ODI, when West Indies suffered a collapse, Cariah, coming at number eight, scored a gritty 84-ball 52 only to see his team losing in the Duckworth Lewis method in a rain-affected match. During that innings, he also shared an 85-run ninth-wicket partnership with Alzarri Joseph.

In the series-deciding third ODI, he dismissed Devon Conway, again, trapping him in front, but West Indies lost the match and the series 2-1.

But what made his selection for the all-important T20 World Cup, Selected ahead of Fabian Allen and Hayden Walsh. An element of surprise is he has not played any T20 prior to his selection in the last five years.

Last Wednesday against Australia, He bowled like a veteran with impeccable control, forcing a mistake from Maxwell who can maul inexperienced legspinners in his sleep.

In just his fifth career T20 game, Cariah took 1 for 15 from four overs, bowled 13 dot balls and conceded one boundary against the reigning world champions on their home patch.

“I saw [Adam] Zampa bowl and I saw the lengths he was bowling, so I know with my style of bowling once I hit my areas it’s going to be difficult for anybody to play” said him

Cariah, who made his T20 debut in 2013, last played a T20 in 2016 when he appeared for Trinbago Knight Riders in the CPL.

“That’s not my fault,” Cariah said. “That’s the people picking the sides. I have no control over that.”

It’s a confidence and a belief that shouldn’t surprise anyone given he has learned the game through watching videos of Shane Warne and Brian Lara.

“The funny thing about this, when you work your entire life for something, the work you put in, confidence goes within yourself,” Cariah said. “I’m very confident in my ability and what I can do. What I believe in. Nobody can take that away from me.”

In recent years, Cariah shone for Trinidad in West Indies domestic cricket, which helped him get a maiden call for his ODI debut. He had also captained the West Indies Emerging Team to its maiden Super 50 title in 2019.

“I’m a genuine allrounder,” he said. “But when I started off, I made my Trinidad debut as a legspinner. And then I found it difficult to maintain my spot as a legspinner because of other bowlers. So I put some more emphasis on my batting. I made my comeback as a batter, and then after my batting took off, my bowling was always there. I never neglected [either] of them. I just kept getting better and better over a period of time.”

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