Jonty Rhodes Excites Cricket Community

Former South African cricket player will bring international attention to the Israeli cricket team.

Jonty Rhodes 224 88 (photo credit: AP)
Jonty Rhodes 224 88
(photo credit: AP)
Former South African cricket player Jonty Rhodes will bring international attention to the Israeli cricket team, which will be competing in July against the India A squad in honor of the 60th anniversary of Israel's founding. Rhodes will be in Israel for five days and will compete in three cricket one-dayers, said Stanley Perlman, chairman of the Israel Cricket Association. The games will be held in Tel Aviv and Ashdod from July 13-16. Rhodes, along with former Israeli coach Roland Lefebvre, plan to give back to the Israeli community by coaching Israeli youth during their free time, Perlman said. "We will be bringing up loads of kids to Tel Aviv, and Rhodes will hopefully be giving them a coaching session," he said. Although the date of the coaching session has not been finalized, it is tentatively set for July 15, Perlman said. In addition to coaching, Rhodes will be speaking to different groups including the "youth, senior cricketers, people who are involved in cricket and hopefully to the minister of sport who will be at the 60thanniversary dinner," Perlman said. "Time is going to be very tight," Perlman added, as Rhodes also plans to visit the religious sites during his stay. Rhodes, who retired five years ago due to injury, is a well-known player in the international circuit for his fielding and great athleticism. He was voted one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 1999, according to Perlman said he hopes that Rhodes' appearance will encourage more Israelis to become interested in cricket. "Jonty Rhodes' appeal is that he is an outstanding athlete," Perlman said. "He has this name of being a miraculous fielder. His participation will have immediate impact on the Israeli cricket community. We're hoping to busload at least 500 children to each game." Cricket is the only sports team that has scheduled an event in honor of Israel's 60th anniversary, Perlman said. "This is a chance for the public to see why cricket is such a special game and the most exciting game in the world." The Israeli team will bring in seven overseas players from South Africa, Australia, Ireland and India, according to Cricinfo. The Israeli component of the team includes wicketkeeper Shai Chayun and left-arm spinner Solomon Varsulkar. "We see this as a golden opportunity to show cricket to the rest of the Israeli public," Perlman said. "We're looking to put the game across to the public at a really high level that we've never had before. We've had stars come across before, but never one team with so many exceptional people."