Former South Africa international AB de Villiers has revealed that watching Jonty Rhodes pull off the stunning run-out of Inzamam Ul Haq during the 1992 World Cup, left a great impact on him as an eight-year-old and propelled his ambitions of becoming a cricketer.
Rhodes, who is regarded as one of the best fielders, if not the best in world cricket, stunned the sporting world with his run-out in South Africa’s win over Pakistan in Brisbane at the 1992 World Cup.
The video of Rhodes breaking all the 3 stumps and in full-stretch, suspended in air is one of the iconic moments in cricket history.
“Jonty Rhodes was the standout. Once again, from a young age, he had the biggest impact. When I was 8 years old, I saw the run out live in the World Cup 1992. That had a huge impact on me,” de Villiers told BBC London’s Kevin Hand for Middlesex cricket.
“I practiced that run out every day of my life. I had grass all over, blood but I had to practice that run out. I never had the opportunity to do that run out in my career. But it still inspired me so much to do special things on the field, to take catches for the team. That’s the way Jonty played. That’s the way I always wanted to play.”
De Villiers said he was awestruck when he met his idol Rhodes for the first time but later they became good friends.
“We became friends. It was a huge dream-come-true for me to just meet him. And then a year or two later, he was the fielding coach in the Proteas side. It was a bit of a blur because it was a dream-come-true to have him around. We played tennis during cricket tours. We still stay in touch. He travels the world. He is that kind of a guy. He loves life. He just gets on his motorbike and rides for hours. He is a bit of a go-getter. He is still the same,” de Villiers added.