Yannic Cariah, born on 22nd June 1992, is a Trinidadian cricketer who has left an indelible mark in West Indian domestic cricket. He has not only represented Trinidad and Tobago with distinction but has also made significant contributions while playing for the Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL). Cariah’s impressive performances earned him a place in the West Indies cricket team in 2022, marking the beginning of a promising international career.
Early Life and Mentors
Cariah hails from the tranquil village of Coalmine, Sangre Grande, where his love for cricket was nurtured. His journey to becoming a professional cricketer was guided by mentorship from some of the best in the business. Former Trinidadian leg-spinner Samuel Badree played a crucial role in honing Cariah’s leg-spin skills. Additionally, Cariah drew inspiration from legendary leg-spinner Shane Warne by studying his videos. His batting skills, on the other hand, were refined by watching the masterful strokes of veteran batsman Brian Lara.
Cariah’s journey to cricketing stardom commenced with the West Indies under-19 team at the 2010 Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand. During the tournament, he played a memorable innings of 110 not out against Sri Lanka in the third-place play-off, establishing himself as a promising talent.
His performances in the 2010 ICC U-19 World Cup were notable, finishing as the second-highest wicket-taker for the West Indies U-19 team. His eight wickets in six matches, at an average of 20 and an economy rate of 4.21, played a pivotal role in the team’s journey to the semi-finals.
A left-handed batsman and right-arm leg-spin bowler, Cariah made his List A debut in October 2009 for the West Indies under-19s in the 2009–10 WICB President’s Cup. His journey in first-class cricket for Trinidad and Tobago began in February 2011, and it wasn’t long before he showcased his prowess. In only his fourth match, Cariah achieved a maiden first-class five-wicket haul, recording figures of 5/46 against Guyana. His talent was further underscored when he repeated this feat in the opening match of the 2012–13 Regional Super50, taking 5/44 against the Windward Islands.
While his leg-spin was impressive, Cariah faced tough competition in the domestic circuit, and he decided to shift his focus towards batting to secure his spot in the team. His adaptability and determination soon yielded results.
Cariah was recruited by the Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel for the inaugural edition of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) in 2013. He made his T20 debut during the 2013 CPL but, on his debut, he neither batted nor bowled. Nonetheless, he contributed to Red Steel’s thrilling three-run victory.
His performances in domestic cricket continued to impress, culminating in him being the leading run-scorer in the 2016–17 Regional Four Day Competition. Scoring 691 runs in ten matches, including centuries and a career-best knock of 196, showcased his class as a batsman.
Emerging as a Leader
Cariah’s leadership qualities became evident when he was named the captain of the West Indies Emerging Team for the 2019–20 Regional Super50 tournament. In the final, he delivered an all-round masterclass, taking 3/8 and scoring 32 runs from 54 balls. His contributions were pivotal in the team’s historic win, clinching their first-ever Super50 Cup.
Cariah’s cricketing journey continued to flourish, highlighted by a hat-trick for Queen’s Park Cricket Club in May 2022, which played a crucial role in their victory in the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board T20 Championship.
International Debut and Return to T20
Despite his consistent performances in domestic cricket, Cariah’s call to international cricket came late, in August 2022, when he was named in West Indies’ ODI squad for their series against New Zealand. He made his ODI debut on 17th August 2022, contributing with both bat and ball as West Indies secured a comfortable win.
In only his second ODI appearance, Cariah demonstrated his batting prowess, notching his maiden ODI half-century. His resilient partnership with Alzarri Joseph in a challenging run chase showcased his character.
Cariah’s impressive performance earned him a spot in the West Indies’ T20I squad for the 2022 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup and the series against Australia. His selection raised eyebrows due to his limited recent T20 experience, but his impeccable control with the ball in his T20I debut against Australia proved his worth.
Yannic Cariah’s cricketing journey is a testament to perseverance, adaptability, and talent. With his ability to excel in different formats of the game, he is poised to make significant contributions to West Indies cricket in the years to come, both as a skilled batsman and a talented leg-spinner.