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Watch: Leaping beauty – Jonty Rhodes runs out Inzamam-ul-Haq to emerge as poster boy of new-age cricket

Jonty Rhodes runs out Inzamam-ul-Haq
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Watch: Instead of attempting a direct hit, Jonty Rhodes sprinted in to run out Inzamam-ul-Haq at the Gabba in the 1992 World Cup.

South Africa had posted 211-7 that day in Brisbane after Andrew Hudson made 54 at the top and Hansie Cronje got a quick unbeaten 47 down the order. Pakistan lost two wickets on 50.

Then it rained, and the target was readjusted to 194 in 36 overs. At 135-2, with Inzamam-ul-Haq (48) and Imran Khan (34), they seemed on course.


Now Inzamam missed a ball from Brian McMillan, and it rolled towards point. Inzamam (for some reason donning a shirt with Mushtaq on the back) considered a leg-bye but Imran, in his 40th year, decided against it.

The fielder, Jonty Rhodes, had debuted in this tournament. This was his fifth match. He was a competent batter, but at this point, scores of 6, 28, 22, 5 had not impressed the global audience.

Of course, teams typically had excellent fielders at backward point, so one could understand why they backed him. Now, he was left with two choices, to throw the ball and to sprint at the stumps.

“There was a 50 percent chance that I’d hit the stumps if I threw, and a 100 percent chance of hitting the stumps with ball in hand. The fastest way I could cover the last metre and a half was head-first. It was just the right thing to do at the time,” he later recollected.

Rhodes was a centre-forward of the South African field hockey side, and would have played at the 1992 Olympics had South Africa qualified. Inzamam had no chance. Imran followed soon, and Pakistan could only manage 173-8.

Cricket had witnessed great fielders before, even in the pre-Kerry Packer era. Colin Bland’s fielding became a sensation. But Rhodes’s effort coincided took place in the 1992 World Cup, which revolutionised ODIs in many ways.

There were new strategies as well, and the cricket was excellent, but there was more to the tournament. For the first time, the global audience tuned in to cricket played in coloured attire, a white ball, new-age television coverage.

As the World Cup progressed, Rhodes stunned satellite television viewers around the world with his fielding, until then the least preferred discipline of cricket.

They would still fight for their turns to bat or bowl, but by the time the tournament got over, children in faraway lands wanted to fling themselves on the uneven grounds as well.

Watch Jonty Rhodes run out Inzamam-ul-Haq here:


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