LAHORE: World known cricket fielding guru Jonty Rhodes, is excited to be a part of the last phase of the mega event of Pakistan Super League at Karachi.
Rhodes image of flying in the air to run-out great Inzamam-ul-Haq in the World Cup 1992 is still etched in the memories of fans around the world.
So gear up to have a glimpse of fielding expert at the National stadium as excitement is rising on the last eight matches of the HBL PSL matches starting from Saturday – including the March 17 final, said the information made available here on Wednesday.
Rhodes said he was looking forward to matches in Karachi.
“I was in Pakistan in 2015 and 2016, so I am looking forward to going back,” he said.
“It”s good for us to be able to go and grow the game in Pakistan,” said Rhodes, also part of South Africa teams in 1994, World Cup 1996 and 1997.Rhodes featured in 52 Tests and 245 ODIs for South Africa and has passed his fielding skills and techniques to players around the world.
“What I have seen (in the HBL PSL) certainly will go a long way to ensuring that Pakistan cricket stays at the top and remains very competitive for a long time because these young players have real skills,” he asserted.
Rhodes termed HBL PSL as exciting.
“It”s been interesting because the wickets here (in UAE) have been slow,” said Rhodes.
“The pace bowlers are able to dominate and they are young pace bowlers.
They have played three editions and this is fourth.
I think some of the batting is making some mistakes.
“They are not learning from the players from around them.
But standard wise, there are good individual players and they have performed well for Pakistan but on a global scale.
Babar Azam is one and he is world number-one in the ICC T20I rankings and you can see why,” he of Pakistan”s Babar.
“He is a talented player.
But, for in the first half of the league, what I have noticed that there is a heavy reliance on foreign players, especially batsmen.
Without doubt there are some good pace bowlers, a couple of spinners,” he said adding “It’s a great opportunity for young players as they are spending time in the field and in the nets, and with the foreign coaching staff and looking to see that aspect grow.
“Rhodes reckoned the home and away matches are missed with the league being played in UAE.
“I have done the IPL and the PSL.
I have not been to Caribbean and the Big Bash not even in South Africa.
The difference here is that there are no home and away stadiums, which is a pity.
This can create such an incredible atmosphere.
“Rhodes said fielding has improved with the advent of leagues especially that of the Pakistan cricket team.
“T20 cricket has certainly shown that fielding is an important element.
I really loved my time in the field, in the Tests not even in the ODIs.
I had a coaching job in fielding for some nine years and the interesting thing, because traditionalists are critical of the T20 cricket, is that skills of all the players, especially in fielding have improved,” he added.
“At times, there are so many T20 matches that come down to the last ball or last over, so the runs you save in the field makes a certain difference.
“Pakistan certainly have some individuals who are good fielders and when you are playing T20 and now the World Cup is coming, so you can”t afford to hide two or three players, one player maybe but fielding will make a big difference in the limited overs cricket,” he continued.
Rhodes said he had fond memories of Pakistan, but on field he was not as successful as he had wished for.
“I don”t have many fond memories of Pakistan tours on the field because I wasn”t very successful because Pakistan had Waqar Younis, Wasim Akram and some great spin bowlers, so I certainly battled with the bat.
“I did enjoy fielding because people didn”t expect you to diving around, so there were some run-out opportunities.
I love the people, the places and the food.
It”s sad for me that it”s only in Karachi because I wanted to explore Pakistan as much as possible as I do like to go out and see the places.
“But I look forward to getting back and exploring Pakistan.
“Asked about the toughest match against Pakistan in which he featured, Rhodes replied: “Nothing to do with me, but Pat Symcox batting in Faisalabad when the ball went through the stumps without disturbing the bails when he was beaten by a Mushtaq Ahmed googly,” recalls Rhodes of the 1998 Test.
“When he (Symcox) came back, he said to the guys “see when you are the clean living person” and we all chuckled because he was the farther from that.
He was the one who was a real character and always had a word or two to say to the opposition, so it wasn’t the clean thing that saved him.
“Recalling his flying run-out of Inzamam-ul-Haq in the Brisbane match of World Cup 1992, Rhodes said: “I don”t think Inzi was a slow runner.
He was 19 at that time.
We had not seen him before, so it wasn”t the case of he was not good at running.
There was a bit of thunderstorm, so the ball was wet and we needed a wicket as Inzamam and Imran Khan were taking Pakistan to our total.
“So, we were battling to get a breakthrough.
I felt if I threw at the stumps, that there was a chance that I might miss.
I could see from the corner of my eye that Imran did not move from the crease.
So, Inzi had to move back and I had to come from the circle.
But, Inzi surprised me by his speed and that”s why I had to dive through the air and ran him out,” he concluded.