Jonty Rhodes, the man who made fielding a new dimension for the game of cricket is turning 49 today (July 27). He was the only player to get selected for the national team on the grounds of fielding skills. Later on, he emerged as the reliable middle-order batsman for the South African team.
In 90's, Jonty's expertise in the point region completely changed the perspective of cricket world towards fielding. As a token of respect, the backward point region is often mentioned as Jonty's point. Such is his contribution to the game of cricket.
Jonty with his anticipation, clarity of thought and execution revolutionised the fielding department. Watching Jonty on the field, everyone would doubt whether he is a human? A bird? Or a plane? And, as we all knew that catches win matches and stopping runs is a crucial part of the game, so one can imagine the impact of this legendary fielder.
Wishing Jonty Rhodes a happy birthday, we EeYuva would like to bring out some interesting facts about the fielding superstar.
Jonty Rhodes loved to play Rugby in his childhood but was forced to quit the game, as he suffered from mild epilepsy in his younger age.
Rhodes also represented South Africa in Hockey. He was selected for the 1992 Olympic Games squad to go to Barcelona. However, the team did not qualify to go to the tournament.
He was again called up for trials to play in the 1996 Olympics but was eventually ruled out due to a hamstring injury.
Jonty had more endorsements than any other sports player in South Africa at one stage in his career.
Rhodes contributed to the first-ever international wicket that was decided by a third umpire (Sachin was given run out).
He is the only 12th player, who was adjudged man of the match just because of his fielding prowess.
Jonty was selected as one of the Wisden cricketers of the year 1999.
Rhodes became the first fielder (other than wicketkeeper) ever to take 5 catches in an innings.
Jonty was a nightmare for the batsmen like Inzamam-ul-Haq and Arjuna Ranatunga, who were slow runners. In fact, no batsmen dare to take a run whenever the ball went towards Jonty Rhodes.
In general, if anyone takes a spectacular catch or hits the stumps directly or makes a superb effort in the field will be named as Jonty.
He is a real superman in the game of cricket. Every batsman had to count him as two fielders before playing a shot in his direction.
Jonty Rhodes used to score runs in two ways for the team-by batting and saving runs while fielding.
This middle order batsman often used to play reverse sweep shots very effectively.
Rhodes' second wife Melanie gave birth to a girl child in Mumbai. The couple named the child as "India Jeanne Rhodes" because they admired the rich culture and geographical diversity of India.
We EeYuva, once again wish Jonty Rhodes a Happy Birthday.