Jonty Rhodes

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Former South Africa international, Mumbai Indians coach, and fielder extraordinaire.

Blog Posts by Jonty Rhodes

  • WWED — What Would Eoin Do?

    What can England do to prevent being knocked out by Bangladesh?

    Eoin MorganEoin Morgan

    Sunday featured the two top teams struggling in the bottom half of the points table in their respective groups. England facing Sri Lanka, had been thrashed by Australia and New Zealand, winning only against Scotland. Pakistan was up against Zimbabwe after having lost to both India and West Indies earlier.


    Much was expected from the English side and the Gabba pitch gave them lot to cheer batting first. Posting their second consecutive 300-plus score thanks largely to Joe Root’s century, I thought England were in the game at the break. But Sri Lankan openers continued from where the Kiwis left, treating the English bowlers with disdain. Losing only Tillakaratne Dilshan at the score of 100, Lahiru Thirimanne and the veteran Kumar Sangakkara scoring fluent centuries, the flawless nine-wicket victory put the Lankans to safety and the Englishmen brooding back to the drawing board.


    With two more matches in the group stage against Bangladesh

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  • New Zealand Are The Team To Beat—And Here’s How To Beat Them

    The World Cup co-hosts seem to be in the form of their lives. But there are chinks in their armour.

    New Zealand after winning the Chappell Haddlee Trophy against Australia. New Zealand after winning the Chappell Haddlee Trophy against Australia.

    After couple of nail-biters involving the associates Afghanistan, Scotland, Ireland and UAE, the much-awaited World Cup clash of the Trans Tasman rivals and co-hosts at Auckland turned out to be a humdinger as well.

    Australia came in to the match with a win and a shared point, while New Zealand has been a rather inhospitable co-host of the World cup 2015, knocking all of their opponents to the canvas with some ferocious blows. Saturday’s contest however had the Kiwi batting being tested for the first time only for them to win by a whisker


    The Black Caps have been adopting an interesting strategy in this tournament playing unchanged and giving their best players every opportunity to be in form, and have thus so far, forsaken the ‘rotation policy’. The only concern with this approach is that should any of your players not be able to strike form during the first month, then the players on the bench are not getting any game time.

    The World Cup still has

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  • Bowlers Need To Have A 'Plan Y'

    Jason Holder's treatment by AB de Villiers should remind bowlers to have a few more tricks up their sleeve.

    Jason Holder: a game to forgetJason Holder: a game to forget

     Modern cricket is very cruel to the bowlers and it can deeply demoralize youngsters to take up fast bowling if they are consistently carted around with scant respect.

    It happened at Sydney on Friday. Jason Holder went for 34 and 30 runs in his last two overs, with AB de Villiers plundering most of those runs. Holder served plenty of length balls to AB in this period along with some full tosses. Isn’t there a reliable weapon to counter the onslaught? Where are the yorkers? This is not Holder's problem alone. Lots of frontline bowlers in international cricket fail to bowl yorkers even as they are getting smashed.

    At the outset, credit to the young Jason Holder for shouldering the responsibility of bowling the last few overs and not handing that difficult task to a more experienced player. Captains lead from the front even if all their decisions don't work out according to either plan A, B or C, his team would have noticed him shouldering that responsibility.

    PLAN Y

    That being said,

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  • Why You Need The 'Reverse Cup' Catching Technique In Australia

    Catching around bouncy wickets, you need to have your hands in high positions. Bangladesh got that wrong yesterday.

    Ponting shows Smith how it's done. Ponting shows Smith how it's done.

    ‘Catches win matches’ is a worn-out cricket cliché, more so in the context of One Day Internationals. The 2015 World Cup has had its share of great catches being taken and some simple catches being dropped—and these have impacted the outcome of those games. Bangladesh dropped three catches against Sri Lanka yesterday and paid heavily for it.

    Fielding and catching on Australian grounds could be a little bit different from fielding elsewhere. Let’s take a look at what sort of preparation fielders should make to adjust to the extra pace and bounce in Australian pitches and what sort of practice should they employ to improve their catching on these large grounds.  

    The difference in pace, and in particular the bounce, will see many catches in the circle loop just over the fielder’s head, as batsmen try to drive on the up. While fielding in the first 10 overs in the sub-continent, most catches come to the fielder at about knee height, an indication in the difference in the bounce extracted

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  • How To Survive A Gayle Storm

    What to do when the Jamaican starts butchering your bowlers. (And if all else fails, pray for rain.)

    Chris Gayle: a new highChris Gayle: a new high

    A weatherman can predict a hurricane. But can he stop one when it hurtles through his town with 250 KMPH wind speeds, leaving in its wake large debris fields of broken concrete, uprooted trees, fallen poles and upturned cars?

    The damage caused by a storm is hard to contain when it hits with extreme force. One such storm that hit the Zimbabwe cricket team at Canberra is called the Gayle-storm: it’s quite difficult to contain, but a treat to watch from a safe distance where you won’t be in its path.

    Chris Gayle struck the fastest double-century in a one-day international, and the first in World Cup history, smashing 16 sixes and 10 fours in his 147-ball innings against Zimbabwe. Thankfully, I am neither a weatherman nor the captain of the fielding side at the receiving end of the Gayle-force.

    So, as a bowling side, what do you do when a batsman like Gayle is going berserk? How do you bowl to him? And what sort of field does one set when the Gayle-force threatens to blow you away? It all

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  • India's Fielding Surprisingly Better Than South Africa's

    Jonty Rhodes analyses Sunday's game which India won bya massive margin.

    Pakistan had never beaten India and India had never beaten South Africa in a World Cup match. But that was before the 2015 World Cup began. While the first record stayed, the latter anomaly has been corrected.

    Winning the toss and batting first, an inspired India playing at home—well, it almost seemed like home what with close to 80,000 fans rooting for the team in blue—overwhelmed the highly rated South Africans in all aspects of the game. Not just batting and bowling but the Indian fielding too seemed surprisingly better than the SA.

    Similarities from the Indo-Pak game - batting coming good again

    Coming from their stupendous success over Pakistan, Shikar Dhawan and Virat Kohli carried on their form into the game handling Dale Steyn with caution earlier and then tearing into Wayne Parnell later to set the tone for a big score. There were many similarities from India’s opening match win. Just as Rohit failed to trouble the scorers, it was Dhawan scoring a hundred this time around while

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  • I Don't See Pakistan Getting Better

    But contrary to public perception, England could still turn their campaign around.

    Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-HaqPakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq

    The second Saturday of the World Cup turned out to be a mixed day for cricket as the Brisbane match between Australia and Bangladesh was washed out and the other match saw only one team turning up to play a World cup match, for the other team seemed yet to mentally arrive in the tournament.

    The points split between hosts Australia and Bangladesh means England with no win will have to be wary of getting pushed down, so too will be the Lankans. Pool A has seen New Zealand dominate their opposition in all three matches, while Australia are going to have to wait a few more days before they can reinforce their solid start against England.

    Bangladesh however will be ecstatic with a shared point. I still think that it is not too late for England to turn their World Cup campaign around. Sri Lanka too should be more than a match for the likes of Scotland, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. So while their cricket has been sub-par of late, England should still be able to qualify in the top four of

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  • The phenomenon called Dale Steyn

    India have to counter the ferocious pace and swing of Dale Steyn if they are to defeat South Africa at MCG on Sunday.

    The Steyn express is on a collision course with India.The Steyn express is on a collision course with India.

    What makes pace bowlers dangerous with the new ball – just sheer pace? Some pacers have the ability to build pressure by bowling in good areas consistently, while others trouble the batsmen with the way they swing the ball. Dale Willem Steyn does all of that along with pure pace, which is why he is reckoned as the most lethal bowlers in the world and has been on top of the ICC rankings for quite some time now.

    We hear Steyn has been down with the flu these past few days. With not so flattering figures in the World cup opener against Zimbabwe and the extended rest before the big game versus the defending champions, my only concern is the flu has hampered his time in the nets, as he is a real rhythm bowler, and gets better the more he plays.

    Shortly before their arrival Down Under, South Africa had rested Steyn in the last two ODIs at home against West Indies and not playing in the 2nd warm up match against the Kiwis, has left him slightly short of match practice, in my opinion.


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  • India's pocket gamechanger - Suresh Raina

    There are a few game changers in a few of the teams at this World cup, and in my opinion, Suresh Raina is one of them, writes Jonty Rhodes.

    The most exuberant Indian on the field.The most exuberant Indian on the field.

    I have had the privilege of watching Rohit Sharma in the nets for the Mumbai Indians, and have been in awe while he is caressing the ball around the ground during the IPL matches. I have also been a big fan of Virat Kohli, mainly for his steely wrists and determination - his conversion rate from 50s to 100s blows me away! However, there is this "little man" amongst the big names in the Indian 2015 World Cup squad who makes a huge difference with his batting, bowling and above all fielding. Since I saw Suresh Raina throw himself around the field from his first IPL, I have been a big fan of the dynamic left hander!

    He is such a valuable member of the Indian ODI team and I am sure that both he and MS Dhoni would have been very happy with his return to form in the crucial World Cup opener against old foes Pakistan.

    At 163 for 2 in the 30th over, in walked the southpaw, very well aware of the precarious situation of the big match and the need to keep accelerating the scoring rate without

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  • New Zealand's Pacers Right Up There With South Africa's

    Jonty Rhodes analyses the New Zealand-Scotland World Cup game.

    Tim Southee celebrates a wicket against Scotland. Tim Southee celebrates a wicket against Scotland.

    Co-hosts New Zealand’s second win finally saw the string of 300 plus scores broken. The first sub-200 score of the World cup from the not so fancied Scotland was quite expected.

    The quality of the opposition apart, I think that NZ and South Africa have the best new ball attack at the 2015 WC. South Africa have a potent combination with Steyn bowling with speed and accuracy while still getting the ball to swing, and Morkel providing both pace and bounce. New Zealand have pace, swing and variety in their openers and, I think, have great depth on their bench, too, should any of the bowlers pick up an injury.

    I was quite surprised that Daniel Vettori played today, as I thought that they might rest him against Scotland, after his impressive showing against the Lankans. He is never a big turner of the ball in ODIs but varies his pace and length so well, allowing him to build pressure on the opposition. He is also a good man to have to bowl in pressure situations, and I am sure that his

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