It’s over and out for cricket com­men­ta­tor

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Roland Cox

Cricket lovers around the world will be los­ing a once pop­u­lar voice in cricket com­men­tary come 2017.

Guyanese-born cricket com­men­ta­tor Joseph Per­reira with over 50 years of re­gional and In­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence in sports anal­y­sis, has de­cided to wave his ra­dio com­men­tary ca­reer good-bye fol­low­ing his stint dur­ing the WICB Pro­fes­sional Cricket League Re­gional Four Day Match be­tween Bar­ba­dos Pride and Guyana Jaguars. It is sched­uled to take place at Bourda in Guyana from De­cem­ber 9-12, 2016.

When Wind­ward Is­lands Vol­ca­noes play Guyana Jaguars at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground from Novem­ber 26-29, 2016, if he is se­lected on the com­men­tary panel, this will be his fi­nal game in Saint Lu­cia.

Per­reira’s de­ci­sion to quit is not be­cause he has lost the pas­sion or in­ter­est in cricket broad­cast­ing, but be­cause the Ra­dio Fran­chise own­ers of the West Indies Home Se­ries have not in­cluded him on their panel for the last three sea­sons.

Reds, as he is af­fec­tion­ately known, points out that although he has been ac­tive do­ing the Four Day Re­gional Matches in Saint Vin­cent, Bar­ba­dos, Gre­nada and here in Saint Lu­cia, he was not cho­sen for any of the four Caribbean Pre­mier League (CPL) T20 matches as well as the West Indies-In­dia Test Match here at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground.

When Per­reira came to Saint Lu­cia in 1984 to head the OECS Sports Desk, he was quickly snapped up by Ra­dio St Lu­cia as part of their cricket com­men­tary team. He says he owes a great deal of grat­i­tude to Ra­dio St Lu­cia’s Man­age­ment and re­mem­bers vividly his fel­low com­men­ta­tors in Her­von Henry (Ra­dio St Lu­cia Sports Edi­tor), Vance Pil­grim, Cle­tus Springer, Steve McNa­mara, Gor­don Ste­wart and Ru­pert Branford – all of whom made him feel at home.

He also re­mem­bers the scor­ers in de­ceased Julius Drys­dale and Anslem Dega­zon who were qui­etly en­ter­tain­ing.

Per­reira was also keen to men­tion the pos­i­tive re­cep­tion he re­ceived from the then Pres­i­dent of the St Lu­cia Na­tional Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion, Ju­lian Hunte and Sec­re­tary Oliver Scott.

Per­reira, who cov­ered more than 350 First-Class matches (in­clud­ing 147 Test matches), over 200 One-Day In­ter­na­tion­als (ODIs) and a num­ber of Kerry Parker World Se­ries One Day­ers and Su­per Tests, has made a great con­tri­bu­tion to the game and is well re­spected through­out the crick­et­ing world.

He be­gan his first-class ra­dio com­men­tary when Bri­tish Guiana played Trinidad & Tobago at Rose­hall in Ber­bice in 1961. It was part of the In­terColo­nial Se­ries and Bourda was also host­ing the Bar­ba­dosJa­maica clash which fea­tured Con­rad Hunte and Cam­mie Smith against the fiery Roy Gilchrist.

The Bourda match was the main at­trac­tion to Ra­dio De­mer­ara, which also had to put to­gether a broad­cast team for the Bri­tish Guiana-Trinidad & Tobago game tak­ing place at the same time in Bri­tish Guiana. He was at that time blooded as a raw, young and en­thu­si­as­tic 22-year old. He re­calls en­dur­ing some but­ter­flies in the tummy on de­but and was very happy that the event came to an end with­out him mak­ing too many er­rors. Per­reira went on to de­velop his own inim­itable style which many came to adore.

He spent 1962 to1967 in Eng­land, where among other things, he had pre-sea­son en­gage­ments with foot­ball clubs Chelsea and Arse­nal be­cause he was very in­ter­ested in foot­ball coach­ing. He soon be­came Sports Con­venor for the West Indies Stu­dents Cen­tre in Lon­don and this opened the door for him to earn some use­ful pounds for con­duct­ing in­ter­views for the BBC Caribbean Ser­vice which does not ex­ist any­more.

Luck­ily for Per­reira, on his re­turn to Guyana in 1967, a new Ra­dio Sta­tion, Guyana Broad­cast­ing Ser­vice (GBS), had been es­tab­lished and he was able to con­tinue his cricket com­men­taries in ad­di­tion to widen­ing his broad­cast­ing skills in box­ing, foot­ball, mo­tor-rac­ing, bas­ket­ball and ta­ble ten­nis.

The man known as “Reds” to many, did his first Test match (West Indies vs In­dia) at Bourda in 1971 and that was fol­lowed by an­other stint when New Zealand played the West Indies in 1972 at the same venue.

He told me his break­through came in 1973 when Ian Chap­pell’s Aus­tralians came to the Caribbean. Per­reira was first in­vited by the Ja­maica Broad­cast­ing Cor­po­ra­tion to be part of the panel for the First Test at Sabina Park. He re­ceived an­other in­vi­ta­tion from CBC Bar­ba­dos to be part of their com­men­tary team for the Sec­ond Test at Kens­ing­ton Oval and grasped those op­por­tu­ni­ties with both hands and never looked back.

This well re­spected cricket com­men­ta­tor be­gan his re­la­tion­ship with the de­ceased Tony Cozier dur­ing the 1971 West Indies-In­dia Test match in Guyana. This part­ner­ship con­tin­ued through­out the crick­et­ing world for three decades, work­ing on be­half of the Caribbean Broad­cast­ing Union (CBU).

The stocky, sil­ver-haired com­men­ta­tor is still ac­tive in the field of sports, in­ter­view­ing sports men and women for a lo­cal tele­vi­sion sta­tion. He took this op­por­tu­nity to shower praises on lo­cal cricket com­men­ta­tor, Claudius Em­manuel and hopes that the young man will get op­por­tu­ni­ties to do Re­gional and In­ter­na­tional matches out­side Saint Lu­cia.

When asked “Can an av­er­age man or woman as­pire to be a cricket com­men­ta­tor in this mod­ern era.” His re­sponse was: “A lot will de­pend on op­por­tu­ni­ties pro­vided by ra­dio sta­tions to cover lo­cal cricket. If as­pir­ing com­men­ta­tors are al­lowed to do re­ports and com­men­taries on lo­cal games, a young com­men­ta­tor will be able to grad­u­ate to the first­class level in the Wind­ward and Lee­ward Is­lands. Un­for­tu­nately, not many ra­dio sta­tions are in­clud­ing cricket as part of their pro­gram­ming and there­fore pre­sent­ing the op­por­tu­ni­ties for de­vel­op­ment is al­most im­pos­si­ble.”

He went on to say: “With the loss of AM fre­quency in Saint Lu­cia and other Caribbean coun­tries, most of the sta­tions ex­cept CBC Ra­dio in Bar­ba­dos, are heard on FM fre­quency and there­fore that lim­its the pro­gramme di­rec­tor, who can­not put through cricket on the AM Fre­quency as was done in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s.”

So a ca­reer that started in Guyana and blos­somed in the rest of the world, has run its full course and comes to end ex­actly where it first started – in his na­tive Guyana.

Hav­ing been the eyes, ears and mouth for Caribbean cricket, this will be the last call for Joseph “Reds” Per­reira!

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