Indian team exciting: Rhodes

Published: Wednesday, December 1, 2004, 14:41 [IST]
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Kolkata:Former South Africa cricketer Jonty Rhodes, best remembered as a fielding marvel, regards India as one of the most exciting teams in the world but gives the highest rating to Australia for playing "near perfect" cricket.

"India is one of the most exciting teams in the world. Their performance graph now seems low as they lost to Australia in the recent series. But then Australia is playing near perfect cricket dominating in all areas of the game," Rhodes told reporters here today.

He, however, declined to make any further comment on the performance of the current Indian side, saying "I have not watched their game that much recently".

Rhodes also praised Yuvraj Sing and Mohd Kaif for their fielding.

"They are doing very well in fielding. But then you need all 11 guys to perform well on the field to make a real impact," said the South African, known for his quick-silver reflexes on the field.

Asked whether he would accept the post of fielding coach of the Indian team if given such an offer, Rhodes said "being a full time employee of a bank, I don't see myself coaching now. So, there is no chance of me taking up any such proposal now".

On the lacklustre showing of the South Africans in recent times, Rhodes said "there has been a slump after the retirement of a batch of seasoned players like Gary Kirsten, Allan Donald and me. They also had specific roles assigned on the field."

"We have to give those roles to others. This is a young batch and some of them are very talented. You need to keep your faith and confidence in them so that they can take up these roles," he said.

Asked about South Africa's chances in the 2007 World Cup, he said even though anything could happen in One Day cricket, the 2007 World Cup would be played in different conditions in West Indies.

"Keeping this in mind, the present squad needs exposure to varying conditions".

He felt that the South African domestic cricket needed restructuring to expose youngsters to more intense competition.

"We are trying to raise the intensity of the competition by cutting down regional competition to six teams. That should help the youngsters raise their standards," said Rhodes, who is here on a promotional tour.

To another query, Rhodes said he could have continued for sometime more in international cricket but decided to retire to focus on his other priorities in life.

Commenting on the ongoing second Test between South Africa and India here, Rhodes said "India has a slight advantage at this stage. But if South Africa can pick up the tailenders early tomorrow, the advantage will even out".

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