Born in south African to an African father and a British mother, Kevin started his professional career just at the age of 17 for Natal ‘B’ as an off-spinner at Kingsmead in 1998. He took 1 wicket and made 3 runs batting lower in the line-up on his first-class debut. But Kevin never supported the racial quota policy which was probably never going to give him a chance at higher levels and so he took the opportunity and moved to England to pursue his career much prominently.
Kevin signed for the Notts at the Trent Bridge and started his career is England. He kept on making progress very rapidly and started to impress many in no time. In 2004, right after he got qualified to play for England, he got a call from the English side for their tour of Zimbabwe where he scored 77 in his second One-day International only. A month later he was selected for tour of South Africa, which was a kind of “Homecoming” series for Kevin. He made his maiden One-day International hundred in the very second match of the series against South Africa, in a dramatic way, scoring his 100th run on last ball of the match with just 1 run required to win. It wasn’t just the only century he sored in that series, he scored two more with a blistering 100 off just 69 balls against South Africa in East London. Kevin proved himself and made himself a big deal for the oppositions in no time. Kevin had a beautiful start to his international career! He equaled Viv Richard’s record of fastest to 1000 One-day International runs as well.
Kevin always had this grace, every shot, every run and even the blocks were enjoyable to watch. He had a sharp mind, he made new shots, like the flamingo, switch hit and a much more worth the watch. He had his own unique beautiful way of flicking the ball on the leg-side, like no one else could and always satisfying to watch. Every decade has its own best cricketer according to the nature of the game. Kevin might have played at the same time as many other greats did and might be not as great as they are but Kevin himself tops his own league. These days young lads struggle with the longer format as compared to the shorter formats but Kevin managed to be the best in handling all three formats. He could bat for hours against Australia, he’s probably the greatest English batsman to face Aussies and the only one who could look into their eyes. In 2005, in his debut Ashes series, he hammered Lee, the in-form Warne, McGrath and led England to an Ashes victory after 17 years on the English soil. Not to forget his perfect maiden test hundred at Oval against Australia in the same series, made everything much perfect. Bringing glory back to the England wasn’t enough as Kevin played a big role in defeating Australia on the Australian soil for the first time in 24 years in the ashes series 2010-2011. He average 60 in that ashes. He scored a memorable 227 at Adelaide. Kevin was a pleasure to watch in such conditions. He was a rock-star who wanted to dare everyone to try to knock him out. Any words won’t be enough to describe the beautiful test cricket he played and the pull, the flicks can never be played like he did.
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that he was revolutionary for the English cricket. He was a polished diamond England had been looking for but rather he himself found them. Kevin definitely shook the English limited sides with his creatively and aggression. England finally had a stick to hold to be a much competitive modern limited-overs side and Kevin was that stick. In 2010. the finally broke the curse won a limited overs World Cup, The T20 World Cup 2010 in West Indies. Kevin was the Man of The Tournament. Kevin became a unique brand cricketer.
But as time kept on passing, things weren’t as glitter as they used to be for Kevin. His long-term issue with coaches, team managers and the ECB got him sacked in 2013. The only option left for him was get on the airplanes and become a T20 specialist all over the world. He had IPL, CPL, BBL and PSL contracts in his hands, so making money really wasn’t a problem, he was topping it. He kept us entertaining with T20 cricket now he has decided to call it a day. Kevin went on scoring 30,000 runs across all format. Every single of them were worth the watch. Kevin definitely is one of the greatest to wear the England shirt and of the best to grace the game of cricket with his bat.
Kevin’s career might have a tragic ending but it still is flamboyant.
Thank You, Kevin!