Indian wickets do not help fast bowlers: Rhodes

Published: Wednesday, February 16, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Bangalore:Former South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes believes the possible absence of paceman Shoaib Akhtar in the Pakistani squad touring India would not make much of a difference as pitches in the host nation does not assist fast bowlers.

While agreeing that the "Rawalpindi Express's" absence would be a "dampener", Rhodes pointed out that there are not "too many wickets in India which assist fast bowlers".

"If they are playing in Pakistan where there are a few hard, bouncy wickets, he would have been missed a bit more", he said on the sidelines of a press conference by eco-safari operator CC Africa, of which he is a brand ambassador.

Key for Indian success would be their spinners and left-arm seamers who are really bowling well, he added.

Rhodes, best known for his fielding acrobatics, said it's important for both India and Pakistan to get a good start to the series.

Pakistan has a few "confidence-booster" wins during their Australian tour, while India has home advantage. Both have injury worries. "If both sides get their best players on the field, it's going to be a very close game," Rhodes said.

According to him, whenever there are India Vs Pakistan matches, there is "so much political news off the field" that sometimes it's quite hard (for players) to focus. The side that's able to put that aside and focus on the game, would have advantage, he expressed.

Rhodes believes Australia's current domination of world cricket might come to an end when their 4-5 key players retire around the same time.

"What might happen is that Australia might get to a stage where their 4-5 key players retire around the same sort of time," he said.

What's "very good" about Australia is their consistency in selection with the same team playing most of the games. "Unless there is injury, player plays", he said. Except coming in of Michael Clark, there were not many changes in the Australian squad in the last 3-4 years.

Rhodes expressed the view that once these 4-5 key players retire around the same time, it would give an opportunity to other countries to put up a strong side against Australia.

He disagreed with a suggestion that Zimbabwe and Bangladesh needed to be stripped off their Test-playing status as they were not playing well at the top level in recent years.

While Bangladeshis have made "big strides", Zimbabwe has had to deal with political issues. "You have to give them opportunities".

"Bangladesh needs Australia, India, England and South Africa to play in Bangladesh to generate interest and get income from TV rights. You need to support them. You can't have only 2-3 best teams in the world playing".

"Cricket community should support each other. They (Zimbabwe and Bangladesh) must play (Tests)," he said.

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