Kevin Howells: An unlikely and unheralded Ashes hero

by Steve

The AshesSo, the good people of England are very excited that their cricket team is actually doing really rather well. For English cricket fans, it doesn’t get a whole lot better than trouncing the Australians in their own backyard. After two games of a five game series, England are 1-0 up (the first Test was a draw), and *whisper it* look like they just might be strong enough to win their first Ashes series in Australia since 1986/7.

There have been a number of fantastic performances, but you either know about them already, or can find much more eloquent words about them elsewhere. Today, I’m going to introduce a little-known hero from the Second Test. Ladies and Gentlemen, may I introduce to you Mr Kevin Howells.

As far as I can ascertain, Kevin Howells is the ‘reserve commentator’ for the BBC’s Test Match Special radio programme. This seems to involve sitting in a London studio throughout the night, watching the cricket, and being on hand should the line to Australia fail.

This seems, in some ways, the perfect job. What cricket fan wouldn’t want to be paid to sit in a darkened room watching the Ashes? Then again, how nerve-wracking would it be to know you might get called upon at a moment’s notice?

Well, that’s what happened to our hero this past weekend. The line to Adelaide went dead, and, with barely a few seconds notice, Howells was on air to the nation. He had no co-commentator to bounce off, and no adverts or news bulletins to allow him a break. He had to talk and talk and talk, explaining the unfolding events on his monitor and avoiding, at all costs, dead air.

There can’t be many broadcasters who could do this at a moment’s notice. As much as I’m sure he was relieved when the line to Adelaide was re-established after half-an-hour or so, he sounded like he could have commentated all night.

Kevin Howells – I salute you!

Image by lildude via Flickr