South African fielding legend Jonty Rhodes was impressed with the work ethic shown by youngsters of the Indian Premier League franchisee Mumbai Indians during a training camp in Durban last week.
Rhodes, a member of the Mumbai Indians team management, was assisted by fellow South African Shaun Pollock, who has been roped in as consultant by the Sachin Tendulkar-led side.
“The majority of the players we worked with will fit around the four overseas professionals and four Indian internationals so they are quite young and their skills are very Indian specific,” Rhodes said.
“But they showed great enthusiasm and were very keen to throw themselves about. They watch a lot of international cricket and do not subscribe to old theory that India does not have a fielding culture. I was very impressed by how much they wanted to learn and absorb,” Rhodes was quoted as saying in ‘Cape Times’.
With the IPL having been shifted to South Africa, there’s strong belief that franchisees with Proteas stars will have the edge in this year’s tournament, a notion Rhodes rubbishes.
“International players adjust very quickly today. Most of the guys in all the teams are experienced international cricketers. They play all over the world and have learnt to adapt very quickly,” the 39-year-old Rhodes said.
“Take a guy like Dwayne Bravo. He plays for the West Indies in the Caribbean, where each island has different conditions, and he has learnt a lot on how to adapt all over. His experience will be very valuable,” said Rhodes, who shot to fame with his dazzling field works.
The Mumbai Indians will open their campaign against last year’s finalists Chennai Super Kings, on April 18, at Newlands.
Rhodes also had some words of praise for Pollock. “Shaun is going to be invaluable to the team. There’s no doubt about that. He just has such a calm demeanour in the dressing room.
“Even when it was thought that the tournament was going to be held in India, and Shaun was still considering whether to come back for another year, the Mumbai management made it very clear they wanted him back,” Rhodes said.