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April 2, 2006
Despite another catastrophic overseas tour, Daren Ganga, the West Indies opener, is upbeat about the immediate future and a turnaround in fortunes for the team.
Speaking on Friday at the Grantley Adams International Airport in Bridgetown, Barbados, shortly after the squad's return to the Caribbean from New Zealand, Ganga pointed to a level of team spirit, especially in the aftermath of a shock defeat in the first Test.
Ganga said, "Since I made my debut in 1999, this team that we've got and the guys we have around, there is a certain uniqueness about the spirit and about the team unity. Although we lost that game and it was very hurtful, we stood by each other, we supported each other and we ensured that we played together."
"The spirit that we have is unique. This is a unit that is working hard together and can make a difference. This is a unit that is willing to commit themselves to the success of West Indies cricket."
After an opening stand of 148 between Ganga and Chris Gayle, West Indies lost the first Test by 27 runs at Auckland when they were set 291 to win. They also tasted defeat by ten wickets in the second Test at Wellington before the rain-ruined third Test at Napier ended in a draw. Their fortunes in the limited-overs series were no better, losing the five-match series 4-1.
"It was really, really hurtful to lose that first Test match knowing how close we were to winning," Ganga said. "I thought we played really good cricket and deserved to win. Be that as it may, I think we are one session short of winning Test matches."
"It's good to see our performance on an overseas tour as well. Our record overseas doesn't say much but we're on the right path. It's just a matter of us getting things together, working together as a team and ensuring that we play together as a team."
In the ODI series, West Indies were also in reasonable positions to press for victories, but were unable to capitalise.
"It is just unfortunate that we didn't click on at crucial points in games, both in the Test matches and one-day matches. We had New Zealand on the ropes on many occasions and it was just a matter of us not understanding the situation and knowing what was required at the point in time. We lacked the mental toughness and the tactical toughness as players."
The majority of the squad returned to the Caribbean, minus captain Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who traveled to the United States on business, while Brian Lara also has business matters in India and England.
© Trinidad & Tobago Express