Ganga’s brilliance earns IPL call

Trinidad and Tobago are in Jamaica for the start of the regional first-class cricket tournament.

But Trinis captain Daren Ganga has more than just the regional scene to consider.

Ganga’s leadership style was hailed throughout the national team’s campaign in last October’s Champions League T/20 series in India where they finished runners-up to New South Wales Blues.

And now, the skipper along with T&T teammates Kieron Pollard and Lendl Simmons and West Indian colleagues Tino Best, Kemar Roach, Wavell Hinds, Carlton Baugh and Ramnaresh Sarwan, has been placed in the Indian Premier League auction later this month.

Ganga is looking forward to the chance of playing in the IPL if given a contract.

‘I think it is an opportunity for me to play cricket outside Trinidad and after being part of the regional set-up for some time now,’ said Ganga who will turn 31 next week.

For the moment however, such prospects are secondary to T&T’s quest to prevent a Jamaica hat-trick of four-day titles.

The Trinis have not won the four-day tournament since their triumph in 2006 and will take on the Combined Campuses and Colleges at Montego Bay in one of the opening round clashes. Jamaica will open their campaign against the Windward Islands at Spanish Town.

Barbados are also in action against the Leewards at Kingston in the other opening round encounter.

Ganga insisted that T&T have a strong line-up for the regional series despite missing key players, at least at the start in new West Indies opener Adrian Barath (hamstring injury), middle order player Darren Bravo (shoulder injury), his brother, all-rounder Dwayne and Pollard.

‘Well obviously as a captain you will miss the first choice players who have been with team and who have established themselves in the side but I think T&T cricket is strong. We have guys who can fill the void left by the incumbents,’ he added.

‘I think we have a balanced team with good experience and I believe this is a wonderful opportunity to let some of the other players stake a claim for a spot in the team.’

Ganga has been in good form leading up the 2010 series, scoring 91 and 105 as he led South to victory in the annual Digicel Gerry Gomez North South Classic at Queen’s Park Oval last week.

Also in good form is off-spinner Sunil Narine who joins Dave Mohammed and Amit Jaggernauth in that department.

Narine, 21, a former West Indies Under-19 player, has had three five-wicket hauls in two matches in December and is pushing for a spot in the final XI.

The batting is also in good form with Queen’s Park Cricket Club captain Justin Guillen expected to vie for an opening spot with Lendl Simmons and Imran Khan at the top of the order. Jason Mohammed was also included in the line-up which also welcomes back all-rounder Richard Kelly.

T&T Squad: Daren Ganga (Captain) Dave Mohammed, Lendl Simmons, Jason Mohammed, Ravi Rampaul, Denesh Ramdin, Imran Khan, Sherwin Ganga, Sunil Narine, Rayad Emrit, Richard Kelly, Amit Jaggernauth, Justin Guillen. Kelvin Williams (coach), Ronald Rogers (trainer/physio), Colin Borde (manager)