| Jonty Rhodes, whose career seems all but over, in Potchefstroom Thursday
Potchefstroom: Jonty Rhodes was axed from So-uth Africa's World Cup squad on Thursday after breaking a bone in his right hand during Wednesday's match against Kenya.
The decision seems cer tain to end the champion field er's international career. He had said he intended to retire after the tournament. Opening batsman Graeme Smith was called up as replacement.
The selectors decided to call for the replacement after Rhodes — regarded as the best fielder in the world — was ruled out for three weeks because of the injury.
South Africa media manager Gerald de Kock said: “The decision was made by all the selectors in consultation with the orthopaedic surgeon, the coach and the captain. We will be applying to the technical committee tomorrow morning for their approval of the replacement.”
Rhodes, 33, who has suffered previous hand injuries, was taken to hospital where an X-Ray confirmed the fracture.
He was immediately sent to Johannesburg to consult a specialist and then underwent surgery, with two pins inserted to stabilise the damage.
Rhodes had missed a catch of fered by Maurice Odumbe near the end of the Kenyan innings before being replaced by 12th man Andrew Hall.
Rhodes, whose athleticism in the field is often said to be worth 30 runs per innings and who also plays a key role in batting, had had the same hand X-Rayed after South Africa's shock opening defeat to West Indies.
Rhodes retired from Test cricket in 2000 to concentrate on one-dayers and to spend more time at home.
“It’s not the end of the world. There’s never a good time to break your hand at a World Cup but if it has to happen, perhaps this is as good a time as any, because there’s time to recover before the Super Sixes,” Rhodes had said earlier.
“I have no idea what the selectors are going to do. I have played with pain before and I’m prepared to do it again.”
South Africa team physiotherapist Shane Jabaar said: “The two pins will be in for three weeks to allow the fracture to heal.”