It’s over and out for cricket commentator
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!