England v West Indies, 4th Test, Chester-le-Street, 5th day June 19, 2007

West Indies getting closer - Ganga



Daren Ganga says there is hope for the future despite the 3-0 series loss to England © Getty Images
Daren Ganga looked back on his side's series defeat against England and hoped the team would learn for the future. Despite the 3-0 scoreline he was holding on to the occasional moment when they had England wobbling, at Old Trafford and, to a greater extent, at Chester-le-Street. He said, though, his side was short of what was required in all aspects and the culture needed to change.

"West Indian culture is very unique," he said. "We need to appreciate that and to find ways, slowly and gradually, of changing that relaxed sort of mode into a more professional mode and I think we are well on the way. The effort is always there by all the players. It's a subtle change and cannot happen overnight. There is a lot of talent, a lot of potential in our team."

He pulled out examples of the team's narrow loss against New Zealand in Auckland in 2004, a tight Test against India and the recent defeat by 60 runs at Old Trafford as evidence that all hope wasn't lost. "We are getting closer and closer to Test match victories," he said. "We are a couple of sessions away from winning Test matches. That is something we need to address.

"The consistency in all departments of our game is lacking. It's something that has hurt us and it hurt us in this game. We had England on the ropes and weren't able to get that breakthrough against [Paul] Collingwood and [Matt] Prior. These are things we need to revisit."

The moving ball was a major issue for West Indies' batsmen, with only Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Dwayne Bravo showing the necessary skill and determination, and Ganga was one who also fell short. "One thing is for sure, the experience at international level of English conditions is something I experienced for the first time and something I am going to keep in my memory bank in terms of what transpired in this series," he said.

"Leading the side in an international series is something I've never done before so it's been a new experience for me. Halfway through the tour I really never expected to have that responsibility. Assessing myself after this series is something I will do, to realise where I went wrong and the ways I can improve."

Ganga said the whole team could learn from Chanderpaul, who finished as the Man of the Match and West Indies' Man of the Series after making 448 runs at 148.66. He also became the first batsman to remain unbeaten for more than 1000 minutes on three occasions, following similar marathon efforts in 2002 and 2004. He was finally removed by Monty Panesar for a second-innings 70.

"It's always difficult as a player when you put in a big effort and there is nothing to show for it from a team perspective," Ganga said. "Shiv is a team player, he's someone who goes there and fights for the sake of the team. His batting in this series has been tremendous. He's somebody who can carry our batting and we all need to take a page out of his book, the manner in which he commits himself to cricket."

Andrew McGlashan is a staff writer on Cricinfo