Dec 09, 2016 Sports
Wants a PM X1 oppose an Opposition X1 at Bourda
By Sean Devers
Born on May 30, 1939 in the Riverain Community of Pomeroon in Region 2, Essequibo,
Joseph ‘Reds’ Perreira has progressed from humble beginnings and overcome several hurdles including a stroke in Australia to become Guyana’s best Radio Cricket Commentator and a household name around the World.
Yesterday, at the Tower Hotel in Georgetown, Guyana, the 77-year-old Pertreira, his silver locks shimmering in the bright morning sunshine, officially announced his retirement from First-Class cricket commentary to bring an end to an iconic career on the Microphone where it all began in 1961 in Guyana at Rose Hall Canjie where he made his debut on Radio when British Guiana played Trinidad & Tobago.
Reds’ last assignment on Radio will be describing the action in today’s historic four-day Day/Night First-Class game between Guyana and Barbados at Providence. This brings an end to an illustrious 372- First-Class matches, 147-Tests and 202-ODI career in Radio commentary which has taken him to every cricket playing Country except Bangladesh.
With a gleam in his eyes and a wealth of cricketing knowledge in his head, the affable veteran Broadcaster and Sports Administrator rolled back the years with memories of, as he puts it, a ‘wonderful and rewarding life.
Armed with his autobiography ‘Living my dreams’ Reds, thanked everyone who helped him to become what he is including the Guyana Broadcasting Service (GBS) and Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU) and emotionally remembered his friend and colleague of over three decades, the late Tony Cozier who was buried on Red’s birthday this year.
”He was like my brother, we traveled the world for over 30 years covering cricket in the days when there was no TV or internet or google to help you. You had to read and do your own research and Radio commentators connected you with the players. I miss him” Reds said with a faraway look in his eyes.
The fifth of nine children, Reds spent his time as a little boy sailing and fishing and never got involved in organised sport until 1945 when he moved to the City after his father bought a house in Charlestown.
Although Reds rose to fame from broadcasting cricket, football was his first love and he made his first division debut as a 16-year-old Goalkeeper for the Georgetown Football Club (GFC).
”Radio was big in those days (1950’s)….you had BBC coming through all the time and on short wave you could catch Radio Australia. I would lie in bed and broadcast an imaginary Test match, imaginary football with Brazil playing England and imaginary World tile boxing,” Reds remembered.
Red’s, who described Boxing, Football, Hockey, Table Tennis, Basketball, Netball and Motor Racing for Radio, said every Friday night the American Armed Forces Radio brought boxing from Madison Square Garden’s. The experienced broadcaster, who watched his first Test match in 1953 when West Indies opposed India, got his big break in 1961.
Two Inter-Colonial matches were being played in the then British Guiana at the same time and two commentary teams were required.
”One match was at Bourda and the other at Rose Hall Canjie ….I was interested in commentary and was called in by Rafik Khan of Radio Demerara and Kenny Wishart, who helped to select the Radio commentators for the cricket board. I joined Norman McLean and Claude Vieira for my first match,” remembered Reds.
”The fiercest cricket I have commentated on was the World Series Cricket (WSC) in Australia. I got a call from Australia inviting me to come to Radio. I thought it was a prank since nobody there knew my number so I said nothing and just listened. I never asked but I know it was Tony who gave them my number” Reds disclosed.
When asked about the demands on commentators on the three formats of the game, Reds said Test cricket takes a lot of time and takes a fair amount of preparation but the ODIs were not as Testing while T20 is a much faster paced game so you are not able to give the type of information you would in Test Cricket or even an ODI.
A Commentator must be able to take constructive criticism but you must learn to ignore criticism caused by jealously advised Reds who said the best cricketer he would have seen is Sir Garfield Sobers.
He said there must be good relationships in the commentary box and some amount of fun but you can’t go overboard with the banter and must not allow that to take precedence over what is happening on the field.
”A commentator must be careful not to say things like what a colleague did last night, say hello to people all over the place. It’s not a request show. There must be good use of language, knowledge of the game, its history and the players involved” Reds, who now resides in St Lucia noted.
He said his most memorable game was the 1975 World Cup semi-final when he commentated on the last 30 when Andy Roberts and Derrick Murray were pushing West Indies towards victory.
In 1971 he made his Test debut at Bourda when India toured the West Indies. Although he was now a top cricket commentator and along with Tony Cozier, Brain Johnson and John Arlott described the inaugural World Cup final in 1975 at Lords, Reds was still directly involved in other sports.
He served as the President of the Guyana Basketball Association from 1969-1975 and attended three Central American championships. He was Coach of the Santos Football Club and the National Under-23 side in the 1960s and commentated on three World Title fights.
Married twice but without children, Reds has devoted his entire life to sports and was behind the microphone in Jamaica when George Foreman fought Joe Fraser in 1973. He was also calling the action for TV when Guyanese Patrick Ford battled Salvador Sanchez in Texas.
The versatile Reds was Sports Advisor to former Minister of Sports, the late Shirley Field-Ridley and served as Chairman of the National Sports Council (NSC) in the 1970s before migrating to Barbados in 1980 when he got a lucrative contract with the Caribbean Broadcasting Cooperation (CBC). He spent five years with CBC and covered the 1984 Olympics.
Reds said his one wish as a retirement gift is see a Prime Minister’s X1 play an Opposition Leader X1 at Bourda and the funds raised go to a specific Charity since he cricket creates cohesion among people.
He also encouraged fans to come to Providence tonight and lamented that the matches are not properly promoted.
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