Indian players don't take breaks due to insecurity: Jonty Rhodes

Former South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes feels that Indian players’ fielding has improved a lot in recent times, and they are no longer lethargic on field Getty Images

New Delhi: Oct 20, 2011

Former South African fielding great Jonty Rhodes feels Indian players just don’t get enough time to recover, thanks to the crammed international cricket calendar and most of them carry on despite fatigue for the fear of losing their place in the side.

According to Rhodes, India has a huge pool of talented players and therefore they prefer not to take a break for the fear of losing their place in the national team.

“Indian players do not get time to recover. As India has a lot of talented players, a player can’t say that I will play in the IPL and then take rest as that ways he might lose his place,” Rhodes said.

Rhodes also felt that the Indian team’s disastrous showing in England, where it failed to win a single match, does not reflect the standard it has set over the past few years.

“They have been the number one side in Test cricket, they are the world champions and a top side in one-dayers. They have been playing really well, and have certainly shown that they can be the best team in the world.

“They have been consistent in home as well as away series and the (performance) in the England tour does not reflect their standards,” the 42-year-old told reporters here on the sidelines of the launch of his new range of nutritional supplements under ESN (Evolution Sports Nutrition).

Seeking to clarify his statement where he compared Kohli with Sachin Tendulkar, Rhodes said, “Sachin is a role model.

What I had said was that, in the one-day environment, because of Kohli’s high conversion rate from fifties to hundreds, he can some day possibly challenge the (ODI) record set by Sachin.”

Kohli has scored 2,496 runs in 66 ODIs at an average of 45.38 with the help of seven centuries and 16 fifties.

As talks veered on to Nasser Hussain’s comment during a one-dayer in England where he dubbed some of the Indian fielders as donkeys, Rhodes made light of the statement.

“The Indian fast bowlers, maybe, they are not the best in the world, but they have improved a lot. Zak (Zaheer Khan) has taken some very good catches for us (Mumbai Indians in the IPL) and Munaf (Patel) has also improved.

“The young players are trying really hard. Possibly, I would have walked off in frustration if I was in the Indian set-up 10 years ago, but there has been a great deal of improvement since then. Now, the young players are prepared to dive.”

Citing Munaf’s example, Rhodes said, “When he played his first match for the Mumbai Indians, his foot was outside the line and conceded a boundary. Then I told him that ‘the others are diving around when you are bowling’. In the next match, his foot was inside the line and he saved a boundary for us.”

“You can’t dive in India half-heartedly. There is a technique to diving and not get hurt,” he added.

The ever-smiling South African felt that the three fielders (Yuvraj Singh, Kohli and Suresh Raina) had won India the World Cup final against Sri Lanka in the first five overs of the match.

“I am not taking anything away from the bowlers, but Yuvraj, Kohli and Raina were outstanding,” he said.

Throwing light on the importance of using nutritional supplements in modern day cricket when the teams are playing almost non-stop, Rhodes said, “The amount of cricket they play today, it will help them to recover quickly. Fitness is also about recovery after an injury and players need time.”

Asked to name the best fielder in world cricket at the moment, Rhodes went for AB de Villiers, though he normally plays as a wicketkeeper-batsman.

“A B de Villiers is a talented fielder though he is a wicketkeeper. He takes good catches, which are not just about diving but also feet movement.” (PTI)