January 14, 1979, Barrackpore, Trinidad
Right hand Bat
Right arm Offbreak
Daren Ganga's 2000-01 tour of Australia was rather like Mark Ramprakash's debut series: there were several characterful twenties and thirties but, as a studious opener whose limited supply of runs came mostly in the V, he could be becalmed all too easily. It wasn't until his fourth coming as an international cricketer that he really made his mark, with back-to-back centuries against the mighty Australians. All of a sudden, his phlegmatic approach became a vital counterpoint to a rejunevated Brian Lara at the other end. But his form fell away and he was dropped after the first Test against South Africa in April 2004-05. Recalled for the 2005-06 tour to New Zealand, he was the second highest run scorer in the three-Test fixture. He looked good for a third hundred - and West Indies for a rare victory - in the first Test at Auckland, but a rash stroke on 95 ruined all that and Ganga was in for flack from his critics. Indifferent innings at Wellington and Napier notwithstanding, he was retained for the series against India later that season. It proved to be a benchmark of sorts, and Ganga clearly had taken a mature step forward. His total of 344 runs in four Tests was a team high by some margin, and his 135 and unbeaten 66 in the drawn third Test in St Kitts were innings of confidence and composure. He cemented his place with back-to-back 80s in Pakistan. Touring England as the vice-captain, Ganga's position was soon elevated following Ramnaresh Sarwan's injury. Ganga, however, failed to shine with the bat and was dropped for the Natwest Series that followed. Even after being named as Trinidad & Tobago's cricketer of the year, Ganga failed to find a place in the squad for the ICC World Twenty20 and the tour of Zimbabwe before making a return to the squad for the the tour of South Africa that followed. However he had six poor innings in South Africa and was not picked by the selectors for the rest of 2008 and the majority of 2009. He continued to lead Trinidad and Tobago, and their victory in the Stanford 20/20 won them a berth in the inaugural Champions League Twenty20 in India, where Ganga's stock went up when he guided his team to the final.
Jamie Alter October 2009
Batting & Fielding