God of Fielding: The backstage story of Jonty Rhodes
The cricket world has not yet witnessed a better fielder than Jonty Rhodes!
There is no argument when it comes to regarding Jonty Rhodes as the God of Fielding. He redefined the art of fielding single-handedly making everyone realize the need of good fielding, which back then was not given much priority. Not only for his great fielding ability, but Rhodes was also known for some of his great diving efforts which endowed cricket fans with some unforgettable memories.
On 13th November 1992, Jonty Rhodes made his debut in a match against India. The Test match was known as the ‘Friendship Tour’, and was played at the home ground of Rhodes in Kingsmead. His ODI debut was made against Australia in the 1992 Cricket World Cup.
Missed being an Olympian
Apart from cricket, Rhodes also tried his luck in hockey. He represented South Africa in the Olympic Games of 1992. However, the hockey team of which he was a part did not qualify for the match. Even later in the next Olympics in 1996, Rhodes was called for trials but unfortunately could not continue due to an injury.
Jonty Rhodes had a record of taking five catches in a match in 1993, and had also set a world record for the highest dismissals not by a wicket-keeper but by a fielder. Again in 2005, Rhodes was known to be in the ninth position for run out dismissals since the World Cup of 1999, and also held the record of third highest success rate.
The fifth game that South Africa played in the 1992 World Cup, was the match that shot Jonty Rhodes to fame. The game saw the power of Rhodes’ fielding and the way he redefines fielding every time he’s given the chance. Pakistan’s Inzamam-ul-Haq along with captain Imran Khan was chasing the score of 194, when he set out to take a run, but was dismissed by a run out, by Rhodes. The speed at which Rhodes ran from the backward point and flied out the wickets was a memorable moment in the history of cricket. The iconic moment became the career defining twist in Rhodes’ cricket journey.
Rhodes was also entitled as the Wisden’s Cricketer of the Year, in the year 1999. Then again in 2004, another feather was added in his cap when was ranked 29th in the list of top 100 great South Africans, due to his extraordinary career in the field of cricket.
Giving his fans such wonderful moments to cherish, Rhodes will always be a name known for his magical fielding.