Jonty Rhodes has put his hand up to coach India but not the Proteas … why?
Ah, Twitter. Home to trolls, retweets, likes, fake outrage and tweeting without thinking.
It’s also home to celebrities and the like and offers a glimpse, however small, into their thinking.
With South African cricket at a crossroads, there has been a lot of talk about who might take over as the head coach of the Proteas. Mark Boucher remains many’s first choice, this writer included, with a number of local options also thrown into the debate.
One name that has also attracted some attention is Jonty Rhodes. The former Proteas middle-order batsman and fielder extraordinaire.
And why not, because he remains immensely popular, commands respect and has spent just short of a decade coaching in some capacity in the IPL.
He has just confirmed his application for fielding coach of India. Just at the time that his country of birth needs him most. Or, at least, needs to consider his qualities for a role in the set-up with the senior team.
You can read here (https://www.sacricketmag.com/rhodes-in-contention-for-india-job/) why he has put his name into the hat.
But what strikes me is that his application comes not long after his tweet on 26 June where he was begged by a fan to return to the coaching structures in SA.
Where to spend [email protected] energy @Tanya4real ; with players who are set in their ways, and only require a bit of fine tuning and additional motivation; or with talented young players who have not yet had the opportunity to showcase and develop their skills? https://t.co/Syji1qX29D
— Jonty Rhodes (@JontyRhodes8) June 26, 2019
His reply was to question where he should be spending his time and energy – with players set in their ways or with young talent who have not yet had the chance to showcase their skills. The answer seemed to indicate his desire to work with the latter.
How then does that reply align with his recent statements when trying to seal a new post with the India team?
It seems to be a complex paradox.
That’s the danger with Twitter – are we take Rhodes at his word/tweet? Or was it merely a throwaway line to appease a fan?
Back in 2016 I interviewed Rhodes in a piece about the coaching drain and got the distinct feeling that money – he mentioned dollars specifically – was a major factor in his decision to ply his trade around the world. You can read that magazine feature here (https://www.sacricketmag.com/guns-hire/)
Obviously money is a factor and so is job stability. And then, of course, personal objectives play a role in any employment decision.
But in the era where the lines between social and mainstream media are blurred and there are quotes galore, there must come a place where the real reasons are laid bare.
Does Jonty want the Indian fielding coach role to be involved with the busiest team in the world, to work among players he respects or does he want to work with youngsters on developing their unshowcased talent?
It seems clear that whatever he wants, he wants to do it in India and not South Africa.