Imran Khan: “I envy folks who doze off…”

Travel stories and tips from Imran Khan of the West Indies Cricket Board

Arnos Vale cricket ground, St Vincent. Photograph by Kay WilsonPhotograph courtesy Imran Khan

With a name like his, it seems inevitable that Guyanese Imran Khan would have a career in cricket — not as a star player like his Pakistani namesake, but as corporate communications officer for the West Indies Cricket Board, in which role he’s travelled around the world with the Windies team.

You’ve seen cricket grounds all over the world. Do you have a favourite?
Easy: the intimate and exquisitely gorgeous Arnos Vale in St Vincent. More than any other ground in the Caribbean, Arnos Vale retains the nostalgic elements of cricket.

If you’re sitting in the media centre, you see the field against the backdrop of planes landing and taking off at E.T. Joshua Airport next door. For some time I’ve feared that an especially big six could cause damage to a plane taking off. On the opposite side of the ground, your view is the Caribbean sea with Bequia in the distance. It is a spellbindingly beautiful view, which has exposed the limitations of even the most eloquent of commentators.

How do you cope with long flights and the demands of international travel?
I envy folks who nonchalantly doze off before take-off and awake just before landing. Long haul flights are especially challenging. The best trick is to have an engaging conversation partner seated next to you who can regale you with stories and distract you for as long as possible. Failing which, reading and listening to sentimental music helps as well. My favourite inflight playlist alternates Buju Banton, Bob Marley, and Babla and Kanchan (don’t judge me).

What travel destination is still on your wish list?
Since I was a boy I’ve had a fascination with Argentina. If only there was a superhighway from Lethem to Buenos Aires . . .

If you had to leave your house with five minutes’ notice to catch a plane to the other side of the world, what would you grab to take with you?
My indispensible travel companion these days is my iPad — for reading, for books, for games, it’s the best electronic device I’ve owned.

If you could have an all-expenses-paid vacation anywhere in the Caribbean, where would you go?
At the risk of being parochial, it would have to be with my wife Tamara at the Baganara Island Resort in Guyana. It is blissfully serene and rustic — a small island set against the background of the legendary Guyanese jungle and the mighty Essequibo River. It’s the kind of place where I could be easily convinced to spend the rest of my days.