Jonathan Neil "Jonty" Rhodes (born 27 July 1969) is a former South African Test and One Day International cricketer. He is commonly regarded as one of the greatest fielders of all time., which he perfected to fly towards the ball for any direction at ease. He played for the South African cricket team between 1992 and 2003.
Rhodes was born in Pietermaritzburg, Natal Province, South Africa. Whilst being noted for his quick running as a right-handed batsman, he was especially noted for his fielding, particularly catching, ground fielding, and throwing from his most common position of backward point.
A report prepared by Cricinfo in late 2005 showed that since the 1999 Cricket World Cup, he had effected the ninth-highest number of run outs in ODI cricket of any fieldsman, with the third-highest success rate.
During his career he also played club cricket for the University of Natal in Pietermaritzburg and first-class cricket for Gloucestershire County Cricket Club, KwaZulu-Natal and Natal. Rhodes retired from Test cricket in 2000, and from one day cricket in 2003 after an injury during the 2003 Cricket World Cup.
Rhodes also represented South Africa at hockey, and was chosen as part of the 1992 Olympic Games squad to go to Barcelona; however, the squad did not qualify to go to the tournament. He was also called up for trials to play in the 1996 Olympics but was ruled out by a hamstring injury.
Rhodes made his Test début against India in the first Test of the "Friendship Tour" at his home ground in Kingsmead, Durban on 13 November 1992, scoring 41 in the first innings and 26 not out in the second.
Rhodes scored his first Test century during the first Test of a three match series against Sri Lanka at Moratuwa during the 1993–1994 season. Batting on the last day, Rhodes scored 101 not out and along with Clive Eksteen salvaged a draw. South Africa went on to win the series 1–0 by winning the second match and drawing the third.
Rhodes announced his retirement from Test match cricket in 2001 in order to allow him to continue playing until the 2003 Cricket World Cup in South Africa. His last Test match was on 6 August 2000 at the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground, Colombo against Sri Lanka. Rhodes made scores of 21 and 54 in the two innings. Sri Lanka went on to win the match by six wickets.
Rhodes made his One Day International début against Australia in South Africa's opening match of the 1992 Cricket World Cup at the Sydney Cricket Ground on 26 February 1992. Australia batted first, scoring 170, and Rhodes dismissed Craig McDermott via a run out. South Africa scored 171 to win the match by nine wickets; Rhodes was not required to bat.
Rhodes shot to fame after South Africa's fifth game of the World Cup, against Pakistan on the 8 March 1992 at the Brisbane Cricket Ground. South Africa batted first, scoring 211 off 50 overs. Pakistan's innings was reduced to 36 overs because of rain interruptions, with the target revised from 212 to 194 runs. Inzamam-ul-Haq and Pakistan captain Imran Khan resumed the innings when play was restarted. With the score at 135/2 Inzamam, who was at the time on 48, set off for a run but was turned back by Khan. The ball had rolled out towards Rhodes who ran in from backward point, gathered the ball and raced the retreating Inzamam to the wicket. Rhodes, with ball in hand, dived full length to break the stumps and effect the run out. The run out, the subject of a famous photograph, is still considered one of the more spectacular feats of that World Cup and the defining moment of Rhodes' career. Pakistan's innings faltered from then on, eventually finishing on 173/8 with South Africa winning by twenty runs.
On 14 November 1993 Rhodes took a world record of five catches, to achieve the most dismissals by a fielder (other than a wicketkeeper) against the West Indies at Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai.
Rhodes announced that he planned to retire from One-Day International cricket after the 2003 Cricket World Cup in South Africa. However, his tournament was cut short when he got injured in a match against Kenya. In Kenya's innings, Maurice Odumbe hit the ball in the air toward Rhodes. Rhodes dropped the catch and in the process broke his hand. The South African team's medical staff concluded that it would take four to five weeks to heal, effectively ruling Rhodes out of the rest of the tournament. Rhodes was withdrawn from the squad and replaced by Graeme Smith.
After retiring from playing cricket Rhodes was employed by Standard Bank as an account executive and is also involved with the bank's cricket sponsorship in South Africa. Rhodes is presently working as a fielding coach in the South African national cricket team. He is currently hired as the fielding coach for IPL Team Mumbai Indians. The Kenyan cricket team announced that Rhodes had been hired as the team's assistant coach and will serve them until the 2011 Cricket World Cup; he will assist Kenya with fielding and batting
In April 2013 South African Tourism appointed Rhodes as their brand ambassador for India. During Cricket World Cup, he will give his expert opinion at PTV Sports and Yahoo.In 1999 he was voted as one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year.
In 2004 he was voted 29th in the Top 100 Great South Africans in SABC3's Great South Africans television series.
He married Kate McCarthy, a niece of Cuan McCarthy, on 16 April 1994 in Pietermaritzburg. The couple have since split up. On 24 April 2015, Rhodes' second wife Melanie gave birth to a daughter named India Rhodes, in Mumbai. The couple named her after the country, stating they admired the rich culture and geographical diversity of the country."“It is a very spiritual country, very forward-thinking nation. I really like that combination. You have to have a good balance of life. With the name like India, she will have the best of both worlds and that sort of balance," various media outlets had quoted him as saying.