The Sri Lankan cricket team’s tour of the West Indies came to an end on Friday with the 2 test series against their hosts both ending in good draws. Due to the ongoing pandemic all of the international matches (West Indies won ODI & T20 series) were held in the beautiful bubble of Antigua and Barbuda.
Yet one of the highlights and indeed surprises of the games for me was the radio commentary of the matches from a certain Garfield Burford from Antigua and Barbuda Broadcasting Service (ABS).
Burford is well known to Jamaican viewers for years as a co-anchor for CVM-TV’s flagship daily evening news and host of a weekly current affairs programme on the said tv station. At all times on CVM-TV Burford came across as impressive and well prepared. A quintessential professional.
Burford rose to global prominence when he covered then US President Barack Obama’s visit to Jamaica in 2015.
In 2016, Burford left CVM-TV in Jamaica and moved on to ABS to work as a consultant/broadcaster. The next time I saw Burford on screen was when he interviewed Dominican Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit in 2017 in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria’s devastation of parts of the Eastern Caribbean.
So it was surprising to hear Burford’s voice in the commentary box during a number cricket matches in Antigua & Barbuda. I was not even aware that Burford liked sports. But according to Burford’s former colleague, Orville Higgins (host of Sports Desk on Klas fm), Garfield is a passionate fan of cricket. You could feel Burford’s fervour for the sport coming through during the matches.
Burford’s commentating during the matches was smooth, flowing, lively, informative and engaging. He was well researched, quick on his feet, ego-free and just a breath of fresh air.
Burford came across as a natural in the commentary box and had no trouble pronouncing the names of the Sri Lankan players, unlike numerous commentators across the globe that comes to mind.
If Burford had not moved to Antigua & Barbuda maybe this golden moment would have missed him – and us listeners.
I do hope Burford’s cricket commentating skills is not restricted just matches played in Antigua and Barbuda, that it develops and opportunities to do similar gigs will come his way.
Burford proved over the shortened West Indian regional cricket season that he is too good to just discuss news and current affairs and that a permanent seat in cricket’s commentary box is more than deserved.