Saturday, February 24, 2018

No room for Ganga

TTCB pleased with youngsters Lewis, Ottley

It was a difficult task to select Trinidad and Tobago's 15-man senior cricket squad for the October 9-28 Champions League in South Africa, but in the end no room was found for former skipper, Daren Ganga.

T&T Cricket Board (TTCB) chairman of selectors Dudnath Ramkessoon explained yesterday that Ganga, as with all the players in line for selection, had been considered when they met to choose the team, skippered as usual by wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin.

As a middle-order batsman, Ganga was edged out by some of the other performers.

Ganga, who led T&T to the inaugural Champions League final in 2009, fought to bring himself in contention for the trip to South Africa, and showed good form in trial matches. But mature, match-winning efforts from PowerGen batsman Evin Lewis and CLICO Preysal allrounder and captain Yannick Ottley helped seal their spots.

Chinaman bowler Dave Mohammed, who made the trip to last year's competition in India, was another big name to miss out on selection.

"It's only 15 players we can carry," Ramkessoon told the Express, yesterday. "We found it difficult to find room for Mr Ganga at this point in time. He is a batsman batting [in] the middle [order], and with the players we have it was difficult to find room for him."

Lewis and Ottley are the only newcomers in the squad, with pacers Navin Stewart and Shannon Gabriel picked alongside Ravi Rampaul. Sherwin Ganga, Kevon Cooper and Rayad Emrit are the allrounders in the team.

Current West Indies players, barring Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo and Sunil Narine—who will line up for their IPL franchises, Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders–have been selected as well.

Ramkessoon said there was no emphasis on youth, adding that some players "selected themselves" with good performances.

"The youths have showed they have the ability to perform not only in age; they have showed maturity in the last few matches. That is a positive sign for our cricket. So we looked at the performances and went with those who we believe have the ability, and (are) doing well of course."

The former T&T batsman was also impressed with the character T&T showed in the two recent quadrangular series at Queen's Park Oval, particularly their comeback win against Test-playing nation Bangladesh in the "Asia vs the Caribbean" series, after T&T were reduced to 12 for five early on.

He is hoping those showings and the team confidence will transfer over to the Champions League.

Ramkessoon is also depending on T&T players to step up and help the team win matches, without a typical big-hitter in the middle-order.

"(In the last tournament) some players showed what you can do once you plan well and strategise," he pointed out. "They scored quickly with no big set of fire power. The strategy will be to plan and execute properly, and make the adjustments."

Ramkessoon added: "The coach (David Williams) is certainly paying attention to that, and (to ensure) the players have the mental toughness to deliver when they are called upon to deliver."

T&T Squad:

Denesh Ramdin (captain/wicketkeeper), Rayad Emrit, Jason Mohammed, William Perkins, Evin Lewis, Samuel Badree, Kevon Cooper, Yannick Ottley, Sherwin Ganga, Adrian Barath, Lendl Simmons, Ravi Rampaul, Darren Bravo, Navin Stewart, Shannon Gabriel; Omar Khan (manager), David Williams (coach), Kelvin Williams (assistant coach), Oba Gulston (physiotherapist)