Daren Ganga gets going

West Indies batsman Daren Ganga has also been hailed as Trinidad and Tobago’s most successful cricket captain...

West Indies batsman Daren Ganga drives for runs during a knock of a century against Australia at the Queens Park Oval, Trinidad. Photograph by Iossjr

Cricket may have brought him his childhood dream, but it is an exacting mistress, demanding constant fealty if one is to be kept close to her bosom. For Daren Ganga, captain of the Trinidad and Tobago senior team, and a West Indies player, it is a good thing cricket means so much to him, because it is tough to fit anything else into the rigorous schedules he needs to keep at the top of the game.

Ganga, who turns 30 this January, was preparing for the Stanford Super Series when I spoke with him. It was hard to imagine how he gets everything done. Normally, from August to November there is a bit of a lull in tournaments and tours—but not last year. It was go, go, go, because the Stanford series, with its US$20 million stakes, came at the end of October, and after that, the regional series began.

When the intensity drops, Ganga prepares himself for the start of the next season with weekly routines that involve three sessions at the gym, and two days of endurance running—for him, that means at least half an hour on the treadmill, going at level seven or eight.

When he’s training for a tournament, there are matches every weekend—all day Saturdays and most of Sundays—and a couple during the week. It is a lot, especially as he has a full-time job in the corporate communications department of Petrotrin, a state-owned oil and gas company that also manufactures and markets petroleum products. He is fortunate that the company supports his cricket career, because he often needs to run off to a practice match, and when he is on tour, he might be gone for months at a time.

Ganga is also doing an external university degree, a BSc in law with management, and he gets a lot of leeway to attend classes when he can—one of the perks of being a talented cricketer.

It was through cricket that he met his wife Noorulain. They met in Pakistan and hit it off, so they kept in touch. Later, when she went to England to study, they met again and things began in earnest. In 2007 they got married, and Ganga is still raving about what a “wonderful experience” it has been for him.

It hasn’t been easy for Noorulain, making a life in a new country without her family, but she’s been keeping herself busy finishing her degree in fashion design. Ganga sympathises with her adjustment, because for him the hardest part of travelling the world as a cricketer has been missing out on what he sees as the most important moments in life, those relating to family events.

“Family is very important. I hold that very dear,” he says.

But cricket has been good to him, because it has let him achieve the dream he had as a boy, to represent the West Indies.

“I am doing something I love, and travelling around lets me see the world and different cultures. I am fulfilling my personal dreams,” he says contentedly—before he has to rush off to an evening class.