County cricket was something I set my goals on: Rhodes
Published: Thursday, April 10, 2003, 3:28 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
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Bristol: Jonty Rhodes is aiming to put his World Cup heartbreak behind him by leading Gloucestershire back to the top flight of English county cricket. Rhodes' international career came to an unhappy end when he broke his right hand during a World Cup game with Kenya on February 12. But two months later he has declared himself fully recovered and ready for his first county season. "The hand has healed fine," he said. "When I had the pins taken out three weeks ago, the professor said to give it 10 days before trying to catch any balls. But I was in the nets every day last week and happily hitting the ball." Rhodes, who retired from international cricket after the injury, said playing on the English county circuit had been a long-held ambition. "When I started out, the apartheid regime meant there was no international cricket for South Africa. The likes of Mike Procter, Clive Rice, Jimmy Cook and Peter Kirsten only got any exposure by playing county cricket - and it was something I set my goals on." "There have not been many off-seasons where I could have fitted county cricket in. But now my international career has finished, I'm really excited about being here." Rhodes will need all the experience gleaned in 52 Test matches and 245 One-day Internationals to help Gloucestershire, who finished second from bottom of the second division last summer, return to the top. "It's going to be a challenge to get through six months," he admitted. I've been told to bring my sense of humour and enthusiasm with me and its important to have that, not just for three months but for the whole 16 championship matches."