Former South African batsman Jonty Rhodes, who has plied his trade here both as a cricketer and a coach, feels England will find it difficult to cope with the Indian conditions during the upcoming Test series. The visiting English side will play five Tests against India, starting with the first match in Rajkot from November 9. Besides the five-day games, the long tour will also feature three ODIs and as many T20 Internationals.
“It’s going to be tough for England. Being in India for five Tests is going to be physically and mentally very demanding because you are in a situation where conditions are not comfortable to you and it puts you under a bit more pressure,” said Rhodes, who has been the fielding coach of the IPL side Mumbai Indians for long.
“If you are in a three Test series, you kind of can get in and get out but it is going to be tough in a five-match series,” he added.
Rhodes, who is here as a mentor of Indian Junior Players League (IJPL) T20 tournament — a cricket talent hunt, feels T20 cricket is not just entertainment and the shortest format of the game has produced some serious skillful cricketers, like India Test captain Virat Kohli.
“What T20 cricket has done is that there is no longer a case between bat and ball. The skill level of players have improved tremendously. Players are playing shots all around the ground,” the South African fielding legend said.
“Bowlers now have to adapt. They can’t just bowl reverse swinging yorkers. You need to bowl the slower ball, slower ball bouncers, different kind of cutters. It’s all about adapting the skills as quickly as possible,” he added.
The 47-year-old, who has played 52 Tests and 245 ODIs for South Africa, further said: “I don’t think it’s just a batters game. I have seen enough T20 cricket in my time to know that if you have good enough skills you can be successful.
“Every one thought that spin bowlers will never compete and dominate in T20 cricket but often they are ones who are on top. It’s a game that requires a bit of skill and great intensity.”
Talking about fielding skills, Rhodes said: “In our time, I was the number one fielder because there was no number 2 or 3 but now you have got youngsters throwing themselves around. So the standard of the game has certainly improved and T20 cricket has done that. People were critical of T20 cricket, saying that it is not real cricket but it brings young players who are the future generation of your Test teams.
“It makes Virat Kohlis. Limited overs players have done well and made name for themselves and T20 cricket has helped them convert into very good Test players.”