Before IPL 2012 began and Rajasthan Royals started their journey without their talismanic captain Shane Warne, the name Kevon Cooper didn’t ring any bell with Indian cricket fans. He was just another overseas recruit drafted in by one of the IPL franchisees who had a glint in his eyes that displayed earnestness to excel at the top level.
However, just after playing in his only second IPL match for Rajasthan, Cooper found himself wearing the purple cap. His seven wickets after playing three games for Rajasthan have earned him much recognition and media attention that even he might not have anticipated so early in his career.
The 23-year old medium pace bowling all-rounder from Trinidad & Tobago’s ascension to the top was almost brought to a halt after concerns were raised over his bowling action after the completion of 2011 Caribbean T20 tournament.
Thankfully, arrangements were made to remedy his action and thus Cooper along with his teammate Sunil Narine travelled close to 11,000 miles and landed in Perth, Australia. Under the tutelage of ICC-appointed experts in the University of Western Australia, he remodeled his bowling action and re-learned the art of bowling under the clouds of uncertainty over his cricketing future.
His resolve was strong enough enabling him to make a strong comeback in the Champions League T20 in India later that year. His six wickets at 5.29 rpo and 65 runs at a strike rate of 191.7 when batting at No. 7 were enough to launch him into reckoning and financial offers came pouring in to join established teams participating in the Champions League tournament.
Kevon Cooper hails from a sporting family and his younger brother Kevin Molina is a footballer who will be representing T&T in London Olympics 2012. Like Molina, Cooper too used to play football but chose to follow his dad who himself is a cricket aficionado.
"My brother Kevin Molina (footballer) plays for Orlando city. He is younger to me and now he is off to Olympics in London. I used to play football. I liked cricket, so (I) switched over to it. My brother played football and my dad liked cricket, so I decided to follow my dad," he told reporters after his exploits in the first two matches of the IPL 2012 season.
Cooper enjoys bowling in India as the conditions are similar to those in the Caribbean.
"Back home the wickets are slow and over here also the wickets are same. So just trying to do my tricks and get some more wickets," he said.
Kevon, like any other cricketer, harbours dream of representing his country in international arena and is eagerly waiting for the opportunity to play his tricks at the highest level.
"Every player`s dream is to play for their country and my dream is to play for West Indies. One day I would like to wear that cap and represent West Indies. That is my dream and aim at moment,” he says.
First Published: Wednesday, April 11, 2012, 19:42