Ganga turns to academics By Orin Davidson
in New York

Stabroek News
July 31, 2003

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A rejuvenated Darren Ganga has decided to divide his time between his cricket career and academics, beginning later this year.

The West Indies top order batsman told Stabroek News that he will soon begin a Law with Management degree at the University of London.

Currently on a short visit to the Big Apple, Ganga explained that his studies will not affect his career which will remain his top priority.

“It is a correspondence degree, one for three years but you can take a maximum of eight years. It would allow me some flexibility when I play international cricket,” the Trinidad and Tobago captain said.

He however, intends to spend time studying in England and has already contacted three county clubs that are interested in his services, when in that country.

“Surrey, Sussex and Middlesex have been contacted and told about by intention as I want to be playing while out there studying. It’s in the initial stage and nothing has been confirmed as yet,” the batsman stated.

Ganga, who played for the Rest of Caribbean side which lost to Guyana in the annual Sunday Memorial one-day feature game here last weekend, said he is a much more confident player now after scoring his first two Test centuries, back-to-back, against world champions Australia in April.

“It has added a lot of confidence to my game, and gave me more respect in the international scene and enhanced my position in the team. One area I needed to work on is consistency and that is exactly what I am trying to do at the moment,” he added.

The 24-year-old batsman who had struggled in his career of 17 Tests, attributed his improvement to playing more regional cricket this year and having his first Test series at home.

“It was my chance to play in the Caribbean, I’d always looked forward to playing before my home crowd and wanted to do something special.”

“I wanted to prove that when you start playing your (best) cricket is when you are most comfortable at home,” he said., adding that “playing at home I wanted to make a difference. Doing something against a team like Australia is always a big challenge.”

The Trinidadian was also grateful to the West Indies selectors who stood by him in lean times. “I am happy for the support and the faith the selectors have in me. I have been given the opportunity and not have the sort of success, and now I am trying to reap that success and am not going to let up, its going to be Darren Ganga working even harder to ensure that he continues in that vein or even go beyond that.”.

Ganga feels the current West Indies team is a changed one under new captain Brian Lara, after winning two of their last three Test matches resulting in a 1-0 win over Sri Lanka, after a 3-1 loss to Australia.

“Yeah I would say it has improved, from the time I started to play to now with the group of young guys with Brian’s input. We are gelling together as a team and with the average age of 24, we are growing into one unit.

“That is something that was lacking before because of the fact they (selectors) have always been chopping and changing players. So now it is pretty much a core set of players who they are sticking with, which is giving the players some more confidence, knowing that there is less pressure and (the selectors) not looking to drop them but to give them a fair chance to show their worth.”

At present, Ganga said he is doing pre-season work and is in the gym, trying to strengthen himself and working on an injury he picked up during the season.

He will swing back into the action in the Red Stripe Bowl one-day competition in October, when he expects Trinidad and Tobago to win for the first time in several years.

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