Rhodes keen to get back on the field

Published: Sunday, April 22, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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Johannesburg: South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes, who has been keenly watching his teammates in the West Indian Test series that they won 2-0, is itching to get on to the field there to join them for the seven One-day Internationals that begin this week.

The United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA) last year agreed to a request by Rhodes to let him play only One-day games and not be a part of the Test squads.

"People have asked me whether I miss Test cricket. I can honestly say that, looking back at the Test series against New Zealand and Sri Lanka, I didn't feel there was anything I could have offered the team," Rhodes told the daily 'The Star'.

Rhodes, however, suggested that he could have played a role in the West Indies series. "Obviously the guys did well to win the series, but it was often touch and go and I do think I could have made a difference," he said.

Rhodes said this did not indicate that he had a desire to return to Test matches. He said two of the main reasons for his retirement were still true.

"I'm not getting any younger and my body is under increasing strain these days. My aim is still to get through to the 2003 World Cup (to be hosted by South Africa) and I'm not sure that playing both Test and One-day cricket would allow me to do that. Secondly, playing One-dayers allows me to be away from my family for shorter periods than if I was still playing Tests," Rhodes told 'The Star'.

If all goes well for Rhodes and he plays in all seven One-day games against the West Indies, he will have notched up 200 games. He has been out of action since January after injuring the little finger on his left hand while playing against Sri Lanka in Paarl. "The finger will be a funny shape for the rest of my life, but it stood up very well (in two matches since). I didn't get to bat for very long in either match, but I took a couple of catches, made some stops and it seemed fine," Rhodes said.

Rhodes is already in Jamaica, where he is watching the South Africans in their fifth and final Test against the Windies. He said he would move to his favorite position at point while Herschelle Gibbs would move back to mid-wicket for the One-day games.

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