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With A Successful Campaign In The Land Of His Forefathers
Is Daren Ganga The Man To Lead A Renaissance Of W.I. Cricket?
 
By Ray Sundar

Oct. 31st, 2009
The quest took shape when Ganga’s Trinidad and Tobago won the 2008 Stanford Twenty/20 tournament, carting off the $1,000,000.00US top prize and the opportunity to compete in the Champions League Twenty/20 finals in India , against top teams from Australia, India, South Africa, England, etc. Win the tournament and walk away $2,500,000.00US richer! Is that incentive enough? If I were a betting man, I would bet yes. 

Quite unlike the perilous journey his forefathers undertook from Port Calcutta, India! 231 Indians (of different castes) left on February 16, 1845 aboard the Fatel Razack, for the long, arduous journey, arriving in Trinidad on May 30, 1845. Ganga and his merry band returned in relative comfort from the humming bird isle of Trinidad on a jumbo jet, completing the journey in less than a day to the motherland. In contrast, using the parameters established above, it took his forefathers, a subservient and gullible lot, who were tricked and lied to and brought to Trinidad as indentured laborers, 103 days to cross the ‘kala pani’. Incidentally, the first batch of Indians to British Guiana arrived on board the Hesperus and Whitby on May 5, 1838 – under similar circumstances.

Daren Ganga, a proud son of the soil of Barrackpore, South Trinidad , a brilliant and articulate chap, an astute leader of men, a man of principles, an attorney-at-law in the making, recognizes the sad, sorry state of affair of West Indian cricket. He has a front row seat as the once proud West Indians, save for Shiv Chanderpaul who seems to be constantly waging a one man battle, have disintegrated into a rag tag bunch of ragamuffins and, essentially, have become the butt of jokes from Australia to New York. In crystal clear language, he emphasized his team is in India to represent the entire West Indies, not just Trinidad .
 
In an interview with Colin Croft, exuding a quiet confidence, he is quoted as saying, “I am sure that we are going to shock not only the teams we play against, but that we will also shock everyone involved in West Indian cricket, and even world cricket, too. We are on a mission for T&T and WI cricket.” Could it be proper prior planning in full force? Prescient you say….
 
The odds makers established Trinidad as a longshot to win the championship. They enjoyed phenomenal success in the earlier rounds, winning five of five, surprising fans and foes alike. They inevitably became the darlings of the tournament with the young turks, Pollard and Barath and Sherwin and Rampaul blasting their way to potential mega deals ( in Australia and the upcoming IPL auctions), supported admirably by the grizzled veterans - Daren and Dwayne and Denesh.
 
Below is the path, in chronological order, they took to the final.
 
Vs Somerset
In their first match England ’s Somerset was dispatched with relative ease. Winning the toss, Daren opted to bat first. T&T made a modest 150/9 with Denesh Ramdin top scoring with 39 and Daren Ganga chipping in with 23. Willoughby was the pick of the bowlers, taking 3/35. In response Somerset was routed for a meager 106. Bravo and Sherwin Ganga were the bowling stars, taking 4/23 and 2/16 respectively. Sherwin carted off the player of the match award.
 
Vs Deccan Chargers
Here is a classical example of a team consisting  a constellation of stars and the reigning 2009 IPL Champions (Gilchrist, Laxman, Symonds, Styris, Sharma, Singh, Edwards – a veritable who’s who’s) opposing a united team. T&T made 149/7 with William Perkins making 38. Edwards took 3/32. Inexplicably the Deccan Chargers fell just short – 146/9. Gilchrist made 51 and Bravo took 3/24. Bravo was named player of the match.
 
Vs New South Wales

The Australian powerhouse batted first, scoring a respectable 170/4. Hughes top scored with 83 and Bravo took 3/21. Pollard hoicked his way to 54 (and player of the match) and D. Ganga provided stubborn resistance, scoring 32 as T&T responded with 171/6. By now Ganga and his charges graduated to must see status in the tournament. 3 victories to Champions status! Certainly within the realms of possibility!
 
Vs Eagles
Africa ’s Eagles did not fare any better. T&T scored 213/4 with a rampaging Barath scoring 63, carting off the player of the match award. Eagles responded with 189/5. Pollard and S. Ganga took 2 wickets each.
 
Semi-final
Vs Cobras

This time the humming bird, after corralling the eagles, out smarted the cobra. Batting first the Cobras scored 175/5 with Duminy scoring 61. Simmons took 2/17. D. Bravo (player of the match) and D. Ganga led T&T to victory, scoring 58 and 44 respectively.
 
Final
Vs New South Wales

After defying the odds and making the prognosticators look like a bunch of bumbling adolescent amateurs, the moment Ganga and his charges lived for is fully at hand. Is it going to be the thrill of victory – the Sir Edmund Hillary/Tenzing Norgay scaling of Mt. Everest in Nepal ? Or, is it going to be the bitterness of defeat – Napoleon Bonaparte Waterloo? Is there to be no middle ground?
 
Immortality beckons as Ganga shepherded his charges for one last fling. For a change the odds seemed to be in their favor as they defeated NSW just days previously. Ah, but this is a different day, an opponent with a different mind set. With the element of surprise neutralized and adrenalin gushing…this is a different situation. Can Ganga inspire and bring out the best one ‘mo’ time?
The pumped up NSW batted first. Were they in for a rude awakening! Before long they were tottering on the brink at 83/6. 5 bowlers conspired to reduce NSW to this precarious position. Brett Lee, like a knight in shining armour, rode to the rescue, smashing a whirlwind 48 (5x6’s) off 31 deliveries, seeing his team to 159/9. Rampaul took 3/20. Trinidad ’s chase never materialized.  The Aussie test bowlers, Lee, Clark and Hauritz, befuddled the Trinis as they succumbed for a ghastly 118. Pollard and D. Ganga contributed 26 and 19 respectively to a losing cause.
 
Brett Lee, arguably the best fast bowler in the world, was named player of the match and player of the tournament.
                                                       
The West Indies Cricket Board needs to demonstrate the existence of cohones, to escape the culture of ineptitude and incompetence to the infinite power and appoint Daren Ganga captain for the next two years. Pronto! West Indies cricket is in such a precarious position, such dire straits that West Indians cannot help but look at other teams’ behind. Perpetually it would seem! Putting some of these teams in the rear view mirror seems like a terrific idea. To those of you who believe Ganga cannot make the team (you may want to re-examine the captaincy records of Lara and Shiv), I say make him a specialist captain. Australia , England , India etc. employed this model in the past with some success. It’s not as though West Indies has a plethora of quality test players. And please ignore the English misadventure two years or so ago. Ganga has led Trinidad to victories across the board.  Simply put he is the best captain in the West Indies . A highly cerebral bloke with immense captaincy acumen, he may very well be the man to lead a renaissance of West Indies cricket. And, oh yes, he brings a boundless supply of intangibles to the fore!
     .
Prediction: Lalit Modi will come bearing bags full of money for K. Pollard, Adrian Barath, Sherwin Ganga, Ravi Rampaul etc. to join the IPL.  Not to be outdone, the Aussies will make offers for their 20/20 tournament.

 
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