Cricket is one of the most loved sports in our country and India’s cricket fan-base has been many times multiplied over time. It is played in every nook and corner in our nation. Though there has been a change of wind in recent times as other sports such as football, basketball, wrestling, shooting have increased admiration but still, cricket remains the most viewed sport in India. Over the years we have seen India producing elite cricketers Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Harbhajan Singh, M S Dhoni, and Virat Kohli have caught the imagination of the nation.
A Cricketer is more or less judged on his statistics and average, but there is one who cannot be judged on these lines and brought a revolution in the fielding department. Yes, you have guessed it right, we are talking about none other than the great South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes who is worth far more than the story those numbers tell.
He began his international career as a batsman but with sheers dedicated and hard work went on to become a top-class international player. He brought about a new dimension to fielding which capitulated him to become recognized as the best fielder in the world raised the world standard in the field. The South African first caught the eye of the world was during the World Cup of 1992 at Brisbane.t, Rhodes picked up the ball and dove full length with the ball in hand towards the wickets and knocked them all down to run-out Inzamam in spectacular fashion. This led to South Africa to win the game by 20 runs.
During his career held the world record for most dismissals by a non-wicket keeper in a one-day international, post taking five catches vs the West Indies in the Hero Cup in Bombay in 1993/94.
Post retiring from the sport, Jonty on a regular interval can be seen interacting with the budding cricketer and giving them valuable insights. These days South African cricketer along with Ryan Maroon is conducting training sessions in Sri Lanka in which we can see 50-year old was involved in a drill where he captivated with his extreme fielding routine.
Ryan Maroon uploaded the video of the session and wrote, “He maybe 50 years old but he still has it! Been another amazing chapter mentoring and coaching 500 plus amazingly talented and gifted cricketers over this past week in Colombo – Kandy – Negombo with ama sports”.
Alex Nishantha who is the coordinator of the program was quoted saying that, “This will be the first time Jonty (Rhodes) will come on such a mission to Sri Lanka. He has been a part of the Sri Lanka coaching unit in the recent past, but during the upcoming camps, he will mostly focus on youngsters, while we also receive inquiries from First Class cricketers as well. He will be willing to have anybody on board, who are eager to learn and perfect their skills”.
Rhodes had recently been in the news for applying for the role of India’s fielding coach, but he was not in the top three, with R Sridhar retaining his position. The selection committee revealed that Sridhar had pitched in with a good performance in his tenure, and replacing him would have been harsh.
Recently South African legend had applied for the role of India’s fielding coach role but his name did not feature in the 3-man shortlist as MSK Prasad-led selection which was met with a lot of criticism amongst the fans and cricket fraternity alike. But he took not been selected in his stride and was quoted saying that “I am sure my interview was not as good as the one with the incumbent coach because he has been there for the last couple of years. Players have worked with a plan. And you can see the progress as it just doesn’t happen. I am expecting that from an interview point of view – he kicked my butt.”