“Belief” is what helped the West Indies Emerging Players conquer the Cricket West Indies franchises and emerge as champions of the region.
The Emerging Players shocked the Caribbean by completing a fairytale run in the Colonial Medical Insurance Super50 Cup with an emphatic 205-run victory over the Leeward Islands Hurricanes in the final at Queen’s Park Oval in St Clair on Sunday night.
Skipper Yannic Cariah, who was left out of the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force team, praised his players for sticking to the plan and getting the job done especially after being overlooked by the respective home teams ahead of the tournament.
“Belief was most important. If you don’t have the belief we would not have won this tournament. No one thought we would have reached the final,” Cariah said after the win.
“We had the belief and I would like to thank God for smiling on us throughout this tournament. We had some tough times and we had some great times and in the end we came out on top,” he added.
Cariah put in a Player of the Match performance in the final to guide his team to victory, grabbing three key wickets to help dismiss the Hurricanes for 88 and also scored 34 as the Emerging Players tallied 293 for seven, after being sent in to bat first.
“For me getting the Player of the Match award means a lot because at the start of the tournament I wasn’t well. I had the flu and I wasn’t at 100 per cent and I didn’t score enough runs for the team but the guys still believed in me and in my bowling. Mr Floyd Reifer thank-you for believing in all of us,” Cariah continued.
“I told the guys once we get to the semi-finals, we are going to win the tournament because I knew the calibre of players we have and the belief everyone had. Men played with niggles, men played under the weather, and we still came out on top, so that is a great achievement,” he added.
The victory would have also sent a clear message to the six franchise teams that the Emerging Players, who came from all six of the CWI territories, are deserved of a second look. The team also included some West Indies Under-19 players; Leonardo Julien, who slammed 83 in the final; opening batsmen Kimani Meleius, who is the Windies U-19 skipper; and off-spinner Ahsmead Nedd, who took 11 wickets in six matches.
Other members of the Under-19 team that were also in the Emerging Players squad included Mbeki Joseph and Jayden Seales.
Of Nedd and left-arm spinner Kevin Sinclair’s performances, Cariah said: “They had a lot of confidence in themselves. They always wanted to bowl and they kept saying ‘don’t take me out of the attack’ so I said ‘do the job for me’ and I want to wish them all the best in the World Cup as well.” Cariah, a former Under-19 World Cup player, added.