The game of cricket was essentially a face-off between the two major departments, i.e., batting and bowling. The art of fielding was treated as an optional department, with only a handful of brilliant fielders in the classical age.
However, it all changed with just one moment of brilliance from a young South African cricketer named Jonty Rhodes.
During the 1992 World Cup in Australia, Rhodes, manning at ‘point’, exhibited his prowess in the field with a lightning run-out of Pakistan batsman Inzamam-ul-Haq.
Young Inzy, who had an exceptional tournament, was threatening to take the game away from the South Africans, batting on 48. Inzamam tried to slog the bowler over the square, by coming inside the line of the ball.
But, Inzy could not get the bat to the ball and ended up padding it towards Point. Without the sight of the ball, Inzamam tried to pinch a single.
Watching Inzamam halfway down the crease, Rhodes quickly latched on to the ball and backed himself to reach faster than Inzy and opted not to throw at the stumps.
Charging in, Rhodes demolished all three stumps before Inzamam could get back to his crease.
South Africa, then, went on to win the game by 20 runs, proving how fielding can help win games. Through this one act of genius, Rhodes revolutionised the fielding department.
From there on, the game has seen only the best fielders in the world patrolling the ‘point’ region, namely, Herschelle Gibbs, Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke, Yuvraj Singh, and Ravindra Jadeja.
June 27 marks the birthday of the South African fielding maestro. Today, he turned 51. Therefore, let’s have a look at the moment which defines Rhodes’ career.
Here’s the video: