Former South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes is counted as one of the best fielders in the history of the game. Rhodes was also the first player in the history of cricket to bag man of the match award as a substitute player. He was given the honour during a first clash match after he was involved in seven dismissals as a fielder. And, today, as Rhodes celebrates his 52nd birthday today, here we take a look at five iconic moments from the field.
The iconic flying leap (1992 World Cup)
Rhodes electrifying field during a match between South Africa and Pakistan in the 1992 World Cup had helped the rainbow nation in defeating the Pak team by 20 runs. Chasing 212 to win, Inzamam-ul-Haq was leading Pakistan’s charges and for a moment, the fans felt that he might lead them to victory. However, a flying fielding effort from Rhodes sent Inzamam back at the stands when he was batting at 48.
During the match, a ball went towards point after hitting Inzamam’s pad and he took a few steps to take a single. Rhodes picked the ball at the point and sprinted towards the stumps and in the process, shattered all three wickets.
Stunning Sachin Tendulkar (1997)
The legendary Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar was known for exploiting any small error made by the bowler. In 1997, during a match between India and South Africa, Tendulkar once again struck the ball towards offside after getting some width from the bowler. However, the bowler had extra protection in form of Rhodes, who was manning the point area. Diving to his left, Rhodes picked the ball by his hand and Tendulkar was forced to return to the stands.
100th catch in one-dayers (2002)
Rhodes picked his 100th catch in ODIs in 2002 during a match between South Africa and West Indies. Rhodes’ 100th victim was Damien Martyn, who was removed from the attack while trying to strike a boundary through the point region off Damien Martyn bowling. However, Martyn did not succeed in his plan as a diving Rhodes pulled off one of the most stunning catches of his career to send him back.
Racing the batsman (1993)
In 1993, Rhodes was involved in an entertaining sprint race with Desmond Hayne during an ODI match between South Africa and West Indies. After blocking a ball, Haynes raced for a quick single. However, Rhodes sprinted faster than the batsman and dived forward before throwing an underarm ball to the stumps. Much to everyone’s surprise, the ball crashed the wickets as Hayne departs from the strike.
Brina Lara dismissal in 1997
In 1997, during an ODI match between South Africa and West Indies, Windies cricketer Carl Hooper struck the ball to point region and asked Brian Lara for a quick single. However, Rhodes quickly picked the ball and dived forward and then hit the stumps with an underarm to affect Lara’s dismissal.