This former South African fielding star, self-admittedly, spends a lot of time in India. “Six months last year to be precise,” says Jonathan Neil ‘Jonty’ Rhodes.
That is also the result of his current responsibility as the fielding captain of the Indian Premier League (IPL) team Mumbai Indians, with whom he has been associated for four years. Yet he knows little about Bollywood. “It’s impossible to separate Bollywood and cricket right? Such a close marriage,” he says.
Apart from bumping into Kolkata Knight Riders’ co-owner Shah Rukh Khan and Rajasthan Royals’ Shilpa Shetty, the closest he ever got to the film industry was in 2011.
“I attended the semi-finals of the Celebrity Cricket League in Chennai. And I tell you, those were some of the biggest biceps I’ve ever seen in a cricket show,” he says, laughing.
During that visit, Rhodes, known for his ace fielding skills, ended up giving the four teams a crash course on how to protect themselves from injuries during the game. “They throw themselves around and play enthusiastically, but that’s obviously not their day job. They wanted to know how not to break fingers and injure their shoulders,” says Rhodes, who ended up spending 30 minutes with each team.
In the city on Thursday, Rhodes launched a short book he penned about his travels in South Africa. Called My South African Diary, it chronicles his marathon journey across the country. “The problem with being an international player is that you travel a lot abroad, but not within the country,” he says, adding that for seven days he stayed at seven different hotels and experienced several adrenaline-rushing activities. “I like my holidays to have that. So, from riding an ostrich to hot air ballooning and then sky diving on the same day, I had a blast.”