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St Lucia a haven for publicity-shy cricketers

India's cricketers, who seemingly have it all – money, fame, adulation – but have unwittingly traded their privacy in the bargain, would love it in St Lucia where their every move would not be documented and each utterance splashed on the front pages of news-hungry papers, reports Anand Vasu.

cricket Updated: May 03, 2010 01:54 IST
Anand Vasu

On Saturday evening, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Ashish Nehra and Zaheer Khan sauntered down the beach at Rodney Bay, not hassled by a single fan, enjoying some down time after cantering past Afghanistan. They were met by an unusual role reversal in that they were spectators as four Indian journalists, including your correspondent, took on an enthusiastic bunch of locals in a game of beach cricket.

But, while India's cricketers were a bit sheepish and not exactly jumping with joy at bumping into journalists, as they get so little time away from the public eye, the posse of reporters are a serious source of amusement for the locals. And it's quite easy to understand why. The touring Indian media contingent numbers more than 50 – massive by Caribbean terms.

In all of St Lucia, there isn't a single newspaper that appears daily. Two papers – The Star and The Voice – have editions on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The remaining two, The Mirror and The Advocate, appear once a week, on Fridays. On Sunday and Monday there's no newspaper at all.

What's more, even the news bulletins that appear morning, noon and night, are not broadcast on Saturdays and Sundays here.

“You have to understand that the advertising pie is so small here that no one can sustain a newspaper seven days a week,” explains Joseph “Reds” Perreira, the veteran radio commentator who so famously overcame a stammer to become one of the voices of Caribbean cricket. “Our papers here have an average circulation of about 6000, and this can go up to about 10,000 if there's a big story breaking or an issue raging.”

India's cricketers, who seemingly have it all – money, fame, adulation – but have unwittingly traded their privacy in the bargain, would love it here where their every move would not be documented and each utterance splashed on the front pages of news-hungry papers.