Dileep Premachandran is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo
In this age of high-speed internet, teleconferences and live streaming, it's not that difficult to put a face to words. There are rarely any 'faceless' voices. Yet, when some of us were growing up and being indoctrinated into the faith of our fathers, voices were all we had to follow the cricket in faraway lands like the West Indies and Australia.
The ABC's Jim Maxwell was always distinctive, the harbinger of cheery Ashes news after the nightmares of the mid-1980s, and there was hardly a cricket fan around who didn't recognise the smooth tone and Caribbean lilt that has been Tony Cozier's stock-in-trade for half a century.
All those years ago, the man who played Rae to his Stollmeyer was Joseph 'Reds' Perriera, a Guyanese who now lives in St Lucia. Reds watched his first Test matches against India in 1953, and remembers the visitors being "a very good fielding side". "[Chandrasekhar] Gadkari was outstanding, and there was also the batting of [Vijay] Hazare and ML Apte."
The Indian connection doesn't end there. Nearly two decades later, he went on air for the first time when Ajit Wadekar's side triumphed against the odds in 1971. "I watched [Sir Len] Hutton, you know, and I can tell you that Sunny [Gavaskar] was in that class as a batsman. [Dilip] Sardesai had an excellent tour as well."
We chat under an unrelenting sun in the press box at the Kensington Oval, a place filled with memories for someone whose association with West Indies cricket goes back to the days of the three Ws, who have the main stand named after them. "I was lucky to watch a little of them," says Reds. "[Frank] Worrell was all finesse and elegance, and he had an extra string to his bow with his medium-pace bowling. He was also by far our most astute captain, a magnificent leader of men.
"[Everton] Weekes was light on his feet and he hit the ball hard. [Clyde] Walcott could really send the ball a long way and he played some shots off the back foot that you rarely see anymore. In a lot of ways, Weekes and Walcott intimidated teams like [Viv] Richards would in later years."
Was Richards the best then? He smiles. "It's hard to say. They were all such fine players. You could argue that Garry Sobers, even without his four types of bowling, was the best of them all, as a batsman alone. Mind you, [Rohan] Kanhai was pretty close. It doesn't help that the numbers don't stack up with him. He got out in the 90s a lot.
"But Kanhai could pick the ball out of the spinner's hand. Sobers picked it off the pitch. Both he and Richards had phenomenal eyesight, and when it started to go, they struggled more than those with better techniques."
Apart from Gavaskar, Reds rates Greg Chappell ['such a beautiful player to watch'] and Martin Crowe ['again, very easy on the eye'] as the finest visiting batsmen he's seen. "[Geoffrey] Boycott was too slow, and didn't have the range of shots that Sunny did."
As we talk, Daren Powell is putting together a superb spell of accurate and hostile seam bowling. For Reds, it brings back more than the odd snapshot from the past. "They were all such great bowlers," he says, "and yet each so different. [Joel] Garner and [Colin] Croft were exceptional with the old ball, [Michael] Holding was quick and straight, and [Andy] Roberts was a great thinker. [Malcolm] Marshall couldn't even establish himself in the side till Croft went to South Africa."
What about those two, I ask, pointing to the Hall and Griffith stand. Again, he smiles. "My father paid for me to cross over on a boat to Trinidad in 1956 so that I could watch the selection trials," he says. "I watched Hall for the first time then. He was quick, but all over the place. As for Griffith, there'll always be a cloud over his career because of the allegations that he bent his arm. But for sheer pace, I think Roy Gilchrist was right up there."
Reds, who covered the 1975 World Cup final with Cozier - 'It was such a different game then,' he says with a laugh - did the last of his 145 Tests two years ago in Trinidad. 'They've done most things right today," he says wistfully, staring down at the field. "It's such a pity that it's too late to be of any use.
"When I look back, I'm glad that I was born when I was, fortunate to watch the players that I did." The most vivid memory? Late on the fourth evening at the Adelaide Oval on Australia Day, 14 years ago. "I still remember Craig McDermott turning one off his pads late on. Desmond Haynes got down just in time at forward square leg. He got a hand to it, stopped it. If not." West Indies won by a run, and then went to Perth where they annihilated the Australians in seven sessions to clinch the series 2-1.
"These players care more about their contracts and what they can get out of the game," he says sadly. "They're not bothered about what they put in."
Reds certainly put in, and thousands of us still recall his eloquence with great fondness. For the sake of men like him, you can only hope that West Indies cricket turns a corner, and sooner rather than later.