You don’t expect a man to be as fit as Mr Rhodes at the age of 44. Former South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes must be known for outstanding cricket, but we witness a warmer, more chivalrous side of him on Wednesday when he decides to sit himself down besides a female journalist for easy audibility.
In Chandigarh to launch dietary supplements by his company, Evolution Sports Nutrition, Jonty plays the perfect interviewee. “I love cooking for my children,” he starts off, and adds, “But, I’m more of a ‘cutting, cleaning, sorting out the mess’ kind of guy. Also in South Africa, we do a lot of outdoor barbeque. Anything that requires fire requires me to be the man of the house. Other times, I lay low.”
His love for India come across vividly when he says, “I have seen more of India as a traveller than a player. When you play, one only gets to see cricket grounds, hotels and airports. When I’m in Mumbai on a weekend, I go to Lonavala on a Royal Enfield. So, I have been snowboarding in Gulmarg, rode a bike at Jaipur and have explored Kerala and Goa. India is so big and diverse; I love the food here. I’m a non-vegetarian, but the vegetarian food in India is so tasty! The sweets are so sweet!”
And if he were to settle down in India? “Definitely not in Mumbai. It drives me crazy. The traffic in Mumbai is the worst.”
About Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement decision, he says, “How on earth did he maintain such a graph? He’s a great player with great ability.” About the rest of the Indian team, he adds, “Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan are in great shape, while Suresh Raina reminds me of myself. I love watching him field.”
Before signing off, he drops an astounding fact, “I was a better hockey player than a cricket player. I was a star in my hockey team. I was a good fielder, but was quite an average batsman for a very long time. I had a good reputation as a goal scorer and pretty much fielded the way I played hockey. I have been at the right place at the right time. Cricket chose me, as it was the first sport that went international. Had hockey come first, I would have been an international hockey player.”