“To me, it is about giving back. This initiative is a way of giving back,” said Daren Ganga. Photo courtesy: Daren Ganga.
Daren Ganga launched a coaching DVD series titled “Daren Ganga Cricket Coaching Series.” Ganga’s DVD features many former and current West Indian cricketers who share their insights and discuss the intricacies of the game. Nishad Pai Vaidya caught up with Ganga and spoke to him about his latest initiative.
Growing up in Barrackpore, a small town in Trinidad, Daren Ganga dreamt of playing international cricket and rubbing shoulders with some of his heroes. However, in a time when media and mass communications weren’t as advanced, Ganga found it tough to hone his skills and develop them over the years. It was after a long struggle that he made it to the highest level and he had to make adjustments to his game to adjust to the rigours of the highest level. Knowing what it takes to become an international cricketer, Ganga has now come up with his unique set of coaching DVDs titled “Daren Ganga Cricket Coaching Series”, that would help youngsters pick up on the finer points of the game.
“I myself struggled to come to terms with international cricket. If I had access to information, that period of transition would have been better. It would have been better as an international cricketer,” says Ganga looking back at his younger days in international cricket, where he was finding his feet as a West Indies opener. Ganga had no coaches in his young days and learnt the game by a trial and error method. “I pretty much learnt by trial and error and from interactions. From a community level, in Barrackpore, I did not have the chance to interface with international cricket — physical or television or radio. I interacted with an international cricketer only when I was a teenager.”
Adjusting to international cricket is one thing, but unlearning some points can be a hassle. Fine tuning ones technique is what matters and that is possible when one interacts with those who have played cricket at a professional level. Thus, in his DVD set, Ganga has spoken to the likes of Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Curtly Ambrose, Ricardo Powell, Sunil Narine, Billy Doctrove and Anisa Mohammad. “At 17, I started interacting with players like Brian Lara, Phil Simmons and Ian Bishop to name a few, I developed as a player. I now aim to bring that to young cricketers at a much earlier age,” he says. Through these interactions, Ganga discusses those finer points of the game. In the form of the DVD, Ganga believes it can act as a good tool for children who aspire to play cricket and their parents, who put their heart and soul into their development.
“It is added tool and an advantage. It is a motivational tool for young cricketers who think playing cricket is a far-fetched dream. We hope to brings that dream closer. It is a tool meant to develop a young cricketer,” says Ganga. He believes that parents and coaches can use these DVDs to guide their children pick up on the various nuances of cricket. It is thus a support mechanism for budding cricketers. “The aim is to give access to players who have done well at a young level. This is so that they (the aspiring cricketers) don’t have to go through the period of having to unlearn,” says Ganga.
Post retirement, Ganga has donned numerous hats. Apart from being a commentator, he has travelled abroad for the Trinidad and Tobago Government on a few diplomatic missions. He has also pioneered the Daren Ganga Foundation, which aims to support education.
“To me, it is about giving back. This initiative is a way of giving back. I am fortunate to have great support and guidance. This DVD is one way of doing it. The Foundation is a non-profit foundation geared towards helping people. We may not be associating with charities with basic support, but I consider education part of charity. And, sport is a vehicle. If we can educate, we can are fulfilling our mandate. Our foundation is one that has global initiative. This DVD fulfills it,” he says.
Ganga is now searching for sponsors to help him achieve his vision of making these DVDs available free of cost to young cricketers in Trinidad. In September, they will be available in India through online purchasing mediums. Ganga’s initiative is one that has kept pace with times. In this modern era, every aspect of life has developed and cricket is no exception. In the years to come, this former West Indian Test cricketer will surely have bigger plans as we head into more exciting times.
(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)