April 11, 2012

Dermot Reeve

The importance of being Kevon

Andrew Hughes
Kevon Cooper picked up four wickets, Rajasthan Royals v Kings XI Punjab, IPL, Jaipur, April 6, 2012
Kevon Cooper: so unpredictable, he doesn’t use an “i” in his name  © Hindustan Times
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At this early stage, the IPL narrative lacks a little coherence. No sooner has one sweaty pro finished explaining himself post-match than another pair of bright-eyed captains are strolling out to fling a coin in the air. No team, not even Punjab, can be out of it this early and so there are no big winners or losers yet. As a film script, it needs work; perhaps cut to the knockout stages, throw in a few more last-ball thrillers. And lose the cheerleaders.

Still, if the plot is confusing, there are plenty of compelling characters to keep you enthralled, including two early contenders for the role of unlikely hero. If the IPL were a Hollywood film, perhaps one of those cute animated ones featuring the voice of Johnny Depp, Tom Hanks or Harsha Bhogle, these two gentlemen would be ideal for the parts of the hapless underdogs who take on the mafia or who stumble into a Wild West saloon bar dressed as chickens.

First there is the underrated newcomer, an awkward-looking lanky boy from a small island, with a wonky name. When his name appears on the team sheet of the Rajasthan Royals, everyone scratches their heads. Who is this guy? Kevon? What’s wrong with Kevin? Does he think he’s something special? And what’s he doing? Call that a run-up? Oh boy, he’s going to make a fool of himself, I can’t watch…

Yet against the odds, Kevon and his homely mixture of long hops and full tosses gets wicket after wicket after wicket. He’s unstoppable. He trots to the crease, lets fly a waist-high full-bunger, and before you can say “Surely that’s a no-ball”, he’s celebrating again. The townsfolk go wild and carry him from the pitch shoulder high, the prime minister of Trinidad calls to congratulate him, and Brett Lee strums his guitar as fireworks light up the sky.

Then there’s Dermot. He used to be something once. But they said he was a bits-and-pieces player, they said he couldn’t play Test cricket. So he quit. He wandered off into the wilderness, a maverick loner, an outcast. No one had seen him for years, till he turned up the other day in the commentary box. The crazy old dobbler is determined to make a fool of himself, going on about tactics and batting theory. This is the IPL! No one wants that!

But then something strange happens. The viewers warm to him. Turns out they enjoy being told something they didn’t know or couldn’t have worked out for themselves, rather than hearing what Danny had for breakfast or how much Sunil rates the biscuits he’s been paid to promote. Dermot understands, you see. He knows the art of television commentary is all about choices. When something happens on the field, what do you do?

1. Shout at the top of your voice, “Look, Event A just happened!” 2. Say nothing because everyone can see that Event A just happened. 3. Explain the technical adjustments Batsman X made to bring about Event A.

Ninety-nine per cent of microphone botherers cling to option one as though it were a life raft. Richie Benaud showed us that there is a lot to be said for option two, as does David Gower, although his occasional snoring rather spoils the effect. But Dermot, like Simon Hughes, goes for option three. The other commentators may snigger and call him a nerd behind his back, but he’s trying and we appreciate him for it.

Then comes the twist. Kevon falls in with the wrong crowd, thinks he’s Michael Holding, runs in from the boundary edge and sprains his yorker. Dermot eats too many DLF doughnuts, starts hanging out with Danny and realises that he’ll still get paid, no matter what rubbish he spouts on air. And the viewer discovers that IPL 5 is not, after all, a heart-warming family film, but a bleak, dystopian chiller. With cheerleaders.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

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Keywords: Commentary

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Avi on (April 13, 2012, 18:50 GMT)

Dermot - When cast in a film, somebody like Paris Hilton is not supposed to act, she has to just look cool, charming and sexy. This isn't serious stuff, whole IPL is like a B grade masala movie where a nerd like you doesn't fit. Kevon - Enjoy your 30 seconds of fame before a 20 run over gets you. And it will get to you real soon I promise. If you aren't getting me, ask your team-mate Tait.

Posted by sunil on (April 12, 2012, 5:09 GMT)

another sensation from carribbean... he's on swung both with bat and ball... going to toil the big heads

Posted by Prashant on (April 12, 2012, 2:59 GMT)

Just when I thought an IPL presentation ceremony couldn't get more awesome (where else can you learn who the senior vice president of the whole North East of TVS is?) they hit me with the double-captain interview. You just know Harbhajan is going to slug Rahul Dravid in one of these after a particularly close RR-MI game.

Posted by tonyp on (April 11, 2012, 23:13 GMT)

Simply marvellous, though I'm certain David Gower's snoring is as elegant as anything else he does.

Posted by Oz Horse on (April 11, 2012, 14:08 GMT)

Both are in a honeymoon period. Kevon is a dog who has had his day and is destined to wear the dreaded reserve bib and soon enough Dermot will start sounding as inane as the rest of them. No-one is bearable when they are contractually obliged to say garbage.

Posted by satnarine maharaj on (April 11, 2012, 13:57 GMT)

Kevon Cooper's performance reflects the nature and spirit of the game of cricket which can accomodate the simple concept of "bat and ball" wherein the ball is to be hit as hard and as far as possible and, once the ball leaves your hand - regardless of how it has been held or delivered - it is potentially"a wicket- taker" It is reminiscent of backyard, children's cricket in the Caribbean where the joy of hitting a cricket ball or taking a wicket can have maximum expression - the original CALYPSO CRICKET!!

Posted by Arshad Khan on (April 11, 2012, 11:20 GMT)

Had it not been for IPL, he would have landed outside the boundary everytime he bowled - in a bilateral series that is!!! What a rubbish of a bowler but then IPL makes a hero out of Vinnay Kumar even!!!

Posted by Akshay on (April 11, 2012, 11:16 GMT)

Is Dermot really that naive, i'm sure he'll be having his breakfast lunch and dinner with Danny by the end of IPL. And with Kevon Cooper,(say his name 10 times a your jaw would hurt)thats a lot many O's for name.

Posted by Anonymous on (April 11, 2012, 11:15 GMT)

I am from Trinidad & Tobago (The home of Kevon). He is the most unpredictable bowler with very predictable results. An abundance of talent.

Posted by ramiz on (April 11, 2012, 11:08 GMT)

best of all

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrew Hughes
Andrew Hughes is a writer and avid cricket watcher who has always retained a healthy suspicion of professional sportsmen, and like any right-thinking person rates Neville Cardus more highly than Don Bradman. His latest book is available here and here @hughandrews73

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