Cricketers have to be role models - Ganga

From squeaky white flannels, it took Daren Ganga six years to don the black gown. The Caribbean cricketer graduated in law from the University of London recently, amidst all his cricketing travels, if not travails. “An interest in the rights of a person drew me to the profession. I was also influenced by my school teacher father. Besides, law intrigued me from a young age,” said the Trinidad and Tobago skipper shortly before the launch of the Nokia Champions League qualifiers in Hyderabad. Does he intend following in the footsteps of other Caribbean greats such as Rohan Kanhai and Gordon Greenidge in settling down in the Old Blighty? No. Ganga plans to train in the UK and return to his native Trinidad to practise law, post cricket of course. A self-proclaimed understudy to Brian Lara from the age of 16, Ganga has joined hands with his role model to promote Trinidad internationally. Completing the triumvirate of sports ambassadors is Dwight Yorke, better known as the ‘Smiling Assassin,' for his exploits in the English Premier League (EPL) besides record participation in the FIFA World Cup. Through the Daren Ganga Foundation, he reaches out to children aged between 8 and 13 years, mentoring and providing them scholarships for academics, backed by the $1 million investment from the Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago. In April this year, the foundation hosted a golf tournament to raise funds. Through this endeavour, he seeks to help children strike a balance between sports and all-round development. “Basketball is not the only thing drawing kids away from cricket. There are too many technological distractions. All the more reason why the Trinidad and Tobago team ought to perform well to make an impression on these kids,” said Ganga. “The Caribbean is a melting pot of various cultures,” he said referring to his garment designer Pakistani wife and alluding to his forebears hailing from UP, although he cannot pinpoint where, in India's most populous state. “I've bullied and kicked him around enough,” jokes Ganga about his brother and teammate Sherwin. More seriously, the captain communicates with him better alright, but to be fair to other teammates, Ganga said he needed to be as tough with his younger sibling as with the rest of the team. “Cricketers are fortunate, especially those from India, to be selected from a billion people,” he said. “We have also a bigger role to play and set the right example for youngsters to follow”. -First published in The Hindu
Sat, 09/17/2011 - 17:31