You’ve got to be always wanting the ball to come to you: Rhodes
Greg Chappell, John Wright
Presence of Poulami, Mouma ensured
Pune Races/El Cid may win feature
Pune results

Nairobi, Oct. 13: 
The one-day boom in the Nineties also saw the emergence of Jonty Rhodes as a cult-figure. He made fielding glamorous. Colin Bland, Tiger Pataudi, Clive Lloyd...

All were brilliant but, thanks perhaps to colour television, Rhodes caught the world’s attention like no one else did.

Indeed, Rhodes introduced the concept of a fielder-allrounder.

Rhodes, afflicted by a mild form of epilepsy as a youngster, is today a senior pro in the South African side and insists his enjoyment-level hasn’t dipped one bit. He spoke to The Telegraph at the Inter-Continental last evening. Following are excerpts

On having taken ‘maternity’ leave during South Africa’s India tour earlier this year

(Grins) My family has always had top priority... Our first child (daughter Daniella) was due and I’m happy the Board was so understanding... Believe me, though, it was difficult sitting at home and watching the guys win the Test series.

On whether he ever felt insecure about staging a comeback

But the game always goes on, doesn’t it? In any case, no one is indispensable. It’s a different context, but look at Hansie Cronje. We had a new captain and South African cricket has moved on... As I’m a guy who works hard, I would have buckled down — had somebody taken my place — and worked my way back into the team.

On having completed almost a decade of international cricket

I’m grateful for all the opportunities... To think that the Barry Richards’ hardly got any at all... However, looking back, I realise I shouldn’t have given my wicket away in the 30s and 40s... I’ve been criticised and I wish I had wisened up earlier. I wish I’d made a bigger contribution with the bat... I suppose it’s significant that when South Africa got re-admitted (in 1991) into the ICC, our first-class matches were only of three days duration. It’s changed now, but that three-day limit did encourage a different mind-set.

On the top lesson he has learnt in the past decade

When on a roll, make the most of it. After all, you never know when a bad decision could hit you. Worse, you could go off form. The first full Test series I played was in England (1998) and that’s when I learnt when one gets to 30s and 40s, one must move beyond those scores. Averages do matter. If I may add, once you know your limitations, you can overcome them.

On starting with the good-for-one-dayers-only label

But, fortunately, I averaged 40 or thereabouts in my first Test series (at home versus India, 1992-93)... Whatever the label, I had youth on my side and was confident that even if I was dropped (for Tests), the age-factor wouldn’t work to my disadvantage. It actually didn’t.

On the times when the selectors overlooked him

I went back to domestic cricket and scored heavily. In 1996-97, for example, I scored three first-class hundreds in-a-row when I was out of the Test side... There was this 18-month period when I played just three Tests... That did leave my Test career disjointed but, fortunately, I was still playing the one-dayers. Generally, I’m not a guy who gets easily discouraged and I do believe I’m there for a reason. If I’ve got to be the best 12th-man, so be it.

On still being best remembered for that incredible Inzamam-ul Haq run out in the 1992 World Cup

(Laughs) From relative obscurity — for many, I had been a surprise selection — I made the front pages... But, I would always be diving around, it wasn’t anything new... The run out, though, gave me a more permanent place... Yes, that one dismissal did change things immensely... No longer was mine a quiet existence. It helped that both parents were teachers and, from a very early age, they had instilled discipline. Therefore, as a person, I remained the same Jonty Rhodes.

On being consistent with that high quality of fielding

I’ve got to make sure my body lasts and, so, you’ll find me with protection for the knees and the elbows.

On what makes a good fielder

You’ve got to enjoy fielding, otherwise nothing will fall in place. This is particularly true of Test cricket where there’s the danger of drifting. You’ve got to be always wanting the ball to come to you... Next, the anticipation has to be exceptional. The half-a-second advantage which an uncanny anticipation provides, proves decisive.

On having dumped hockey as a career (Rhodes was a centre-forward)

I had to choose either cricket or hockey... It was okay till 1991-92, when I could devote six months to both. From 1992 onwards, however, cricket became full-time...

On South Africa’s biggest strength

Allrounders. There’s hope in plenty even if we’re seven down.

On having been close to Cronje

My wife (Kate) and Hansie’s wife (Bertha) have been close friends and they continued talking to each other even after the scandal broke... It followed that Hansie and I would speak, too... It’s Hansie who called and, that first time, it was awkward because I could sense he was embarrassed... He didn’t quite know what to say. It was easier later... He even called me in Sri Lanka — I suppose he would speak to Shaun Pollock there as well...

In fact, Hansie and Bertha spent some time with us in Durban, as they did with Peter Pollock... Hansie always backed me when I was down, purely as a friend then I couldn’t desert him in his moment of crisis.

On his thoughts when the scandal broke (early April)

(Emotionally) Frankly, as it was soon after April 1, most of us thought it was a delayed April Fool’s joke... Could never have imagined Hansie getting involved in this business... To me, Hansie never ever came across as a conniving, selfish sort of guy... Rather, he wanted to excel. Like many others, I miss him... Miss his calming influence, his leadership. But, as I’ve said, no one individual is bigger than cricket itself... Adversity tends to bring people closer. That’s been so with this South African team.

Finally, on Cronje’s life ban

Cricket wouldn’t have set a good example had he been allowed to play... I back him as a friend but, then, I can’t condone what he did... Hansie himself acknowledged he had crossed the line. Now that the punishment has been handed out, he can probably move on in life.    

Nairobi, Oct. 13: 
Former captains Greg Chappell and John Wright have emerged frontrunners for the India coach’s job. Both are set to be interviewed, by the Board, in the next fortnight.

Geoff Marsh and Wright were frontrunners till the other day but, according to The Telegraph’s sources, Australia’s 1999 World Cup-winning coach has “almost pulled out of the race”.

The two other applicants, Andy Roberts (who coached the West Indies in the mid-Nineties) and Dean Jones, aren’t contenders at all. While the Board isn’t sure just how communicative Roberts will be, certain agencies have “advised” the Board not to consider Jones. The Board has quickly taken note of that.

Aunshuman Gaekwad is, for now, the stop-gap coach.    

Calcutta, Oct. 13: 
Organisers of the state table tennis championships today ensured the participation of Poulami Ghatak and Mouma Das after a period of uncertainty.

The two national women’s singles champions, selected for the October 20-22 Asia Cup, can now join the team event at the state meet (in Haldia) thanks to the organisers agreeing to pay for their air-fare to Mumbai.

The two, who were to travel by train, can now stay back for the first part of the October 16-21 state championships.

“They will fly out on October 19, after the team championship,” an official of the Bengal Table Tennis Association said.


MEN: Chetan Baboor, S. Raman, Soumyadeep Roy. Coach: Manjit Dua. WOMEN: Poulami Ghatak, Mouma Das. Coach: Kamlesh Mehta.

Manish upsets top seed

Manish Shaw pulled off the biggest upset in the ITA Junior Open tennis championships today, packing off top seed Samriddh Burman 6-2, 7-5 to make the boys’ under-14 semi-final. Shaw tomorrow will meet Biplab Das who got a walkover from Siddharth Sigtia.

Sixth seed Bapi Haldar downed No. 3 Baibhav Das 6-3, 6-0 to set up a semi-final clash with Akshay Bajoria. The second-seeded Bajoria beat Rohit Srivastav 6-0, 6-2.


Girls’ U-14 quarters: M. Sewa bt Malini Chowdhury 6-1, 6-2; Rohini Das bt Ankita Dokania 6-1, 6-4; Pooja Mitra bt Sreshtha Chatterjee 6-3, 6-4; Aryani Banerjee bt Akriti Dokania 6-0, 6-0.

Boys’ U-12 quarters: Biplab Das bt M. Imran 6-0, 6-1; Akshay Bajoria bt Tayab Alam 6-1, 6-2; Ranjan Prasad bt Siddharth Sigtia 6-1, 6-1; Srey Dey bt Parthasarathi Trivedi 6-1, 6-1.

Chowrasia ahead

City pro S.S.P. Chowrasia shot his second successive six-under 66 at Faridabad’s Aravalli Golf Club course to lead the field at the Tiger Sports Marketing Open by two strokes.

According to information received here, the slightly-built Chowrasia raced to 12-under 132 after two rounds. He is followed by veteran Shiv Prakash of Kanpur, who shot a seven-under 65 and for a 10-under 134 tally. Defending champion Mukesh Kumar added a five-under 67 to his 69 yesterday to be on 136. Overnight leader Vijay Kumar could only manage a par today and was fourth at 137.

Calcuttan Indrajit Bhalotia improved his first-day card of seven-over 79 by 13 strokes to be tied for 23rd place at one-over 145.


Pune, Oct. 13: 
Sitting pretty at the weights, the Imtiaz Sait-trained El Cid is expected to win the Squanderer Trophy in Pune on Saturday. C. Rajendra partners the four-year-old gelding.


2.15 pm: Red Rock 1. Blades Of Fury 2. Shahpari 3.
2.45 pm: Deep Blue 1. Different Crown 2. Lady Moura 3.
3.15 pm: El Cid 1. Thundering Bay 2.
3.45 pm: Rumaan 1. Rock Sword 2. Rebel Countess 3.
4.15 pm: Anna Pavlova 1. Fantasy 2. Musical Melody 3.
4.45 pm: Mischiefmaker 1. Mama Mia 2. Piece Of Art 3.
5.15 pm: Southern Star 1. Persian Lord 2. Octopaxi 1. 3.
5.45 pm: Dream Lover 1. High Voltage 2. Nuclear Power 3.

Day’s Best: Deep Blue Double: El Cid & Rumaan.

Note: The Mysore Race Club have decided to conduct two extra days of racing on October 21 and October 25. RCTC will conduct the inter venue betting in Calcutta.


Pune, Oct. 13: 
The M. P. Jodha-trained Thunder Struck claimed the A. Campbell Trophy in Pune on Friday.


(With inter-state dividends)
1. Reprint Trophy 2,000m: (4-1-2) Suratha (Prakash) 1; Essess- pemess 2; Rock Opera 3. Won by: 8; Dist; (2-11.5). Tote: Win Rs 36; Place: 12; 10; Quinella: 14; Tanala: 109. Fav: Essesspemess (1).
2. Midnight Cowboy Plate 1,600m: (1-5-2) National Velvet (Gallagher) 1; Steve Tyler 2; Sarena Pride 3. Won by: Dist; 1; (1-43.2). Tote: Win Rs 14; Place: 10; 42; Quinella: 56; Tanala: 110. Fav: National Velvet (1).
3. A. J. Wadia Stakes 2,000m: (3-1-2) Storm Dancer (Gallagher) 1; Legendary Lover 2; Power Surge 3. Won by: 1-1/2; 3/4; (2-11.9). Tote: Win Rs 25; Place: 16; 24; Quinella: 49; Tanala: 447. Fav: Storm Dancer (3).
4. Highway Star Plate 1,600m: (7-3-4) Desert Fighter (Prakash) 1; Natural Spark 2; Silver Rock 3. Won by: 3-1/4; 1-1/4; (1-44.5). Tote: Win Rs 35; Place: 14; 13; 28; Quinella: 40; Tanala: 451. Fav: Furiously (2).
5. A. Campbell Trophy 1,200m: (3-8-4) Thunder Struck (Belose) 1; Absolute Hit 2; Star Music 3. Won by: 4; 2-1/2; (1-13.9). Tote: Win Rs 35; Place: 14; 22; 16; Quinella: 120; Tanala: 500. Fav: Thunder Struck (3).
6. Supreme Choice Plate 1,200m: (11-10-15) Suddenly (Gharat) 1; Minneapolis 2; Flirtatious 3. Won by: 2-3/4; 1; (1-15.3). Tote: Win Rs 97; Place: 34; 17; 36; Quinella: 144; Tanala: 1,843. Fav: Minneapolis (10). (Note: The winner survived objection lodged by the rider of second placed horse).
7. Dare Say Plate 1,400m: (8-2-1) Loyal Rebel (Gharat) 1; Red Trident 2; Adam’s Touch 3. Won by: 1; SH; (1-31.4). Tote: Win Rs 50; Place: 19; 32; 13; Quinella: 325; Tanala: 1,171. Fav: Adam’s Touch (1).

Jackpot: Rs 27,634; (C) Rs 1,084.

Treble: (i) Rs 151; (ii) Rs 2,068.

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