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On the ball

Ezra Stuart

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PREPARATION IS key to the success of the Trinidad and Tobago cricket team.In an interview with NATIONSPORT on Tuesday just before returning home after playing two Twenty20 warm-up matches in Barbados against the Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC), captain Daren Ganga said the Trinidadians took their preparation very seriously.“We hold the philosophy that our preparation is very critical for the success of our team. It has always been like that. The Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board, thankfully, is investing a lot in terms of our preparation and hopefully, it can pay dividends,” Ganga said.Trinidad and Tobago are the reigning regional 50-over One-Day champions while they won the last Stanford Twenty20 Cup back in 2008.“Our successes in the past have been based on our preparation, how thorough we have been as a team and individuals, and we are just trying to do the same. We are not going to take anything for granted,” Ganga noted.Ganga said they were delighted to play two tune-up T20 games in Barbados as they gear for the inaugural West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Twenty20 Cup which starts next Thursday.“We’ve had inclement weather in Trinidad and it has hampered our preparation in terms of match practice so we are very glad to have the opportunity to play against Combined Campuses,” he said.“These two good games, one in the night and one in the day, I think are going to put us in good stead in terms of our preparation leading up to the July 22  when we start the regional T20 tournament,” Ganga said.Trinidad and Tobago will open their campaign against Canada at 4 p.m. in the first match of a double-header at Kensington Oval.“We qualified last year to play in the Champions League and we had a very good showing there, and we are now going to use that as a prerequisite to winning this tournament,” Ganga pointed out.“We’ve worked hard for the last two months and we are coming to the final stages of our preparation and it is very important for us to make sure that we are thorough, that we are clinical, while we enjoy playing against good quality opposition,” noted Ganga.The Trinidad captain said it was critical for team unity to have West Indies’ all-rounder Dwayne Bravo and wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin in their ranks on the short tour of Barbados. Former West Indies captain Brian Lara was also present on Tuesday supporting the team. “I think your team is as strong as the players that you’ve got and we’ve got players with international experience and it is very important to have everybody gelling together and understanding their roles within the team.“I think that is very critical to the success of any team. These sorts of matches with all our international players, it is very important for them to understand how they fit in in the big picture. At the end of the day, it is the success of the team that is going to matter,” Ganga reasoned.The only player missing was big-hitting all-rounder Kieron Pollard, who is playing for Somerset in the English T20 Championship. “It’s unfortunate that Kieron has got contractual commitments, and we are going to be waiting for him to join us. I’m sure that he’s aware of our plans on how we go about playing T20 cricket and I’m sure that he’s going to fall in the set-up very nicely,” Ganga said.