Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 18: Former South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes, who was known for his electrifying fielding, on Saturday said that his focus on guarding the field was rooted in his desire to do better than others on the ground.
"That was an innovation that I brought to the team," Jonty said while speaking at the Huddle Global 2023, here.
Speaking at the event, he recalled many memorable moments from his cricket days to highlight the importance of practice, focus and innovation to young entrepreneurs at the event.
Referring to one of the most memorable instances of an "airborne" Rhodes crashing into the stumps to run out Inzamam-ul-Haq in the 1992 World Cup, Rhodes said as his throwing was not accurate, he decided to dash to the stumps with the ball.
"As I neared the stumps, I realised I had to get there faster and just launched myself onto the stumps. Almost every newspaper across the cricketing world had that picture on their front page and that really defined my career," said the South African batsman.
He said he put in quality practice to perfect his fielding and his performance really changed the way the teams started looking at fielding as an equal component, like batting and bowling.
"I loved fielding and I would fling myself towards the ball even when it was nowhere near. My team mates used to call it 'TV Dive' and pull my legs saying I was doing it so that my mom sitting at home could see more of me on the TV," said Rhodes.
"But I never was afraid to try what others in the team never tried. So never be afraid of failures and what others think of your idea," added Rhodes.
He also pointed out how unorthodox and bold ideas could disrupt the system by recalling the explosive opening pair of Sri Lanka, Sanath Jayasurya and Romesh Kaluwitharana during the 1996 World Cup.
"Every other team stuck to the age-old method of building up the innings slowly by getting around 40 runs in the first 10-15 overs and then accelerating their innings later. But this Sri Lankan pair blew that strategy apart by attacking the bowling from the first ball itself. That strategy changed the nature of the game completely and they got the reward for their disruptive approach when they won the World Cup," he said.
Jonty also held out an example of former South African captain Hanse Cronje to underline the importance of "power delegation".
"Cronje was the captain but he left it to me to sort out the fielding department. He was a great leader and friend."
Referring to the 2023 World Cup, he played to the gallery saying he was wearing a blue coloured shirt to show which teams he favours.
"As South Africa is not in the final, I can boldly declare who I am tipping to win the final," he said to a round of cheers from the crowd. (IANS)