Mildenhall has pulled off a coup with the signing of former IPL, now star Ranji Trophy spinner, KC Cariappa, for their 2024 East Anglian Premier League campaign.

Konganda Charamanna (‘KC’) Cariappa, or “Carri” to his team-mates, is widely recognised as India’s first “mystery” spinner.

The leg-spinner from Coorg in Karnakaka bowls with an orthodox round-arm action. The leg break is his stock ball, and he has variations including the googly and carrom ball. His other strength is his ability to bowl off-spin within changing the grip.

Cariappa started playing cricket at the age of 17 as fast bowling all-rounder, but later switched to spin bowling. In 2014, Cariappa played for the Karnataka Under-19 team and Bijapur Bulls in the Karnataka Premier League (KPL). He finished as the third-highest wicket-taker at the KPL and grabbed the attention of a few IPL scouts during the tournament. He was included in Karnataka’s 30-man probable squad for Ranji Trophy, but was not selected in the final squad.

In September 2014, whilst on trial for KKR, skipper Gautam Gambhir failed to read his bowling, and in February 2015 was subsequently picked up by KKR at the IPL auction for ₹24 million (US$300,000), an unusually huge amount as Cariappa had not played any form of top-level cricket before he was signed-up by the Knight Riders.

The managing director and CEO of Kolkata Knight Riders, Venky Mysore responded after the auction: “Some of the top players that we have including the legendary Kallis found him (Cariappa) to be very unusual and extremely good, and we decided to give him a shot.”

He made his senior cricket debut during the 2015 IPL for the Knight Riders against the Royal Challengers Bangalore on 11 April 2015 and picked up the wicket of AB de Villiers. This was the only time he played for them that season. He was released from their squad the very next season.

At the next auction, he was picked up by Kings XI Punjab for a lower price of ₹8 million (US$100,000). In 2019, he returned to Kolkata Knight Riders as a replacement when Shivam Mavi got injured. He was released by the Kolkata Knight Riders ahead of the 2020 IPL auction. In February 2021, Cariappa was bought by the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL auction ahead of the 2021 Indian Premier League.

He made his List A debut on 8 December 2021, for Karnataka in the 2021/22 Vijay Hazare Trophy. In February 2022, he was bought by the Rajasthan Royals in the auction for the 2022 Indian Premier League tournament.

In October / November 2023, Cariappa moved to Mizoram where he enjoyed a productive Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (T20), and Vijay Hazare Trophy (List A) campaigns. His success resulted with his first-class debut in January 2024, where he subsequently delivered the goods, bagging figures of 6-108 (47), and 2-66 (24.3), plus 42 from 37 balls on his Ranji Trophy debut against Sikkim.

Cariappa has since continued to excel in Ranji Trophy cricket. 5 further wickets against Nagaland, before 8 wickets (3-57, 5-35) and a boundary-laden 54-ball 74 (5x6s, 6x4s) against Arunachal. He would then bag a second 10-wicket match haul (6-66, 4-48) vs Meghalaya in his next match, before another quick fire innings (45) against Hyderabad.

Cariappa is a serious performer who, having missed out on IPL inclusion this year, is now set to head abroad having recently signed with Mildenhall for their 2024 East Anglian Premier League campaign.

It’s not often a player can lay claim to dismissing some of the greats of the game, including AB de Villiers, and Virat Kohli, so it’s a stunning signing for the EAPL club this summer.