(27th July 2012,Cricturf) : Right now in the cricketing world, they say Kumar Sangakkara is the no.1 test batsman in the world and Dale Steyn is the world no.1 test bowler. Yes, they are and they have proven them with their numbers, averages and statistics. The numbers do speak a lot in cricket. But no one can simple judge or conclude the value of a player like Jonty Rohdes from the number because its way higher than what
numbers can say.
Jonty began his career as a batsman for South Africa and managed to sharpen his techniques to become a world class international player. He was often or rather in every match he played got highlighted for some form of superhero move he do while fielding and that became the icon of Jonty Rhodes. Arguably, he became the best frielder in cricket history for the awesome catches he produces and his elegant fielding efforts that mesemrised the spectators by changing the entire game up side down.He became a trendsetter in cricket by changing the world fielding from head to toe.The energy and the inspiration he show on the field often gave moral boost to the entire South African side.
Batsmen earlier had to worry about the field placements.But Jonty made it even more tougher for them by reaching every ball that passes him even if its few meters away. He didn't care whether its towards his left, right, forward or backwards. He had his dives, runs and dashing jumps to get hold of anything. Jonty became a more horror for batsmen on field with his speed and accuracy of hitting the stumps where anyone can scream "Spot On".
1992, the match between South Africa and Pakistan at Brisbane in the Cricket World Cup was the start of Jonty's career of getting named as the best fielder in the world. The entire world till date talks about that run out as the best they have seen so far.It was the moment where world opened an eye to see who Jonty Rhodes is. Inzamam ul-Haq was the victim while Jonty came running few meters forward and flew straight to take the bails off while his body was on air for 2-3 seconds just like "superman".
The ball could just move way high above but Jonty still would go 4-5 feet up like a rocket with his 100% reaction time to reach it. The poor Robert Croft was a victim of this Jonty action during World Cup in 1999. Croft couldn't believe that after hitting so fast and high the ball was on the fielders hands safe even after he missed it once while he was on air.
The retirement of Jonty was indeed sad and much similar to Mark Bouchers.Prior to the 2003 Cricket World Cup held in South Africa, Jonty announced that he will retire from One Day Internationals after the tournament. Maurice Odumbe, the Kenyan batsman hit the ball in the air to the side Jonty was in and the world's best fielder for some bad luck missed the catch on air and fell down. He broke his arm during the entire circle and he was effectively ruled out of the tournament. The current South African skipper Graem Smith was replaced for Rhodes.
Rhodes is currently sharing his expertise in the field as a fielding coach for South African national cricket team and also as the fielding coach of Mumbai Indians.
He will remain and will be remembered by this generation and all the generations to come as the best fielder. The youngsters will be inspired and will look up to him as the best fielder for the miracles he did in cover point and backward point.
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