'I was closer to getting hockey call up'

Published: Monday, January 15, 2001, 20:50 [IST]
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Durban: Top South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes says it was a wise decision to concentrate on One-day games only and not participate in Test matches. He told the 'Sunday Times' that every morning following a tough game, he got a reminder about his decision, which the United Cricket Board of South Africa had earlier acceded to."On the field I'm coping," said Rhodes, "but the next day I'm sore. The gameis physically draining. One of the reasons I stopped playing Test cricket is because I knew I couldn't cope with a full summer of both forms of the game."Rhodes conceded that the decision had paid off, with five successive 50s, a new record for South Africa. "I've been trying to bat more sensibly, giving myself a bit more time. The key is not to do anything stupid in the first 15 or 20 runs. In the past I scored a quick 15 or 20, then got out," Rhodes said.Rhodes, who holds the South African record for the most One-day appearances, 91, said things have changed since he first played for the national side in 1992. "One of the main changes is the belief that the South African team now has. Back then Kepler Wessels was the only one with real international experience. Some of the others had played the three games in India in 1991, but that was it. Our attitude was 'oh gee, are we going to cope?' South African cricket has changed. Now the players believe we can dominate."Rhodes commended some of his colleagues and those who are coming straight out of school and into cricket academies. "At one stage Hansie (Cronje) was our main all-rounder, now we have people like Shaun Pollock, Lance Klusener and Jacques Kallis," Rhodes said. "They (the younger players) have been on under-age tours and they know they can make a living out of cricket. They work harder than when I first started playing. They are mature and cricket-wise at 19."By contrast, said Rhodes, he was a part-time cricketer at the same age. "I was studying at university and playing hockey in winter and cricket in summer. I felt I was playing better hockey than cricket and that I was closer to getting in the national hockey squad than I was to playing in the cricket team."Rhodes said his only remaining goal was to play in the 2003 World Cup, which will be hosted by South Africa.India Abroad News Service

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