Former South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes says that while playing, he didn’t mind the camera. As a TV anchor however, he has had to get used to the camera following him around

South Africa’s return to international cricket after years of isolation in the 1992 World Cup is best remembered for the superb runout that Jonty Rhodes affected to get ride of Pakistan’s Inzamam Ul Haq in a league match. For most of the 90s, Rhodes and South Africa were the epitome of fielding expertise. As a lower middle order batsman and superb fielder, Rhodes was a vital cog in the South African team that managed to win many fans across the planet for their energy and athleticism on the field.

Rhodes retired from international cricket in the early 2000’s and is currently turned TV anchor in the show South Africa with Jonty Rhodes. The show that will be aired on NDTV Good times will showcase Rhodes as a travel host and visiting key tourist locations across South Africa, with four contest winners.

“I am the brand ambassador of South Africa Tourism,” Rhodes says over the phone. “This series will create more awareness about the natural beauty that South Africa holds. It will take viewers to Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and the picturesque garden route, covering various game reserves and scenic winelands. Besides exploring the innumerable tourists attractions in the country, I wanted to ensure that my guests will immersing themselves in the heritage and diverse culture of the country, and leave with a deeper understanding of the country they visited”

Donning the role of an anchor was a difficult task for the acrobatic fielder. “On the field, the camera concentrates on your game. You do not need to pay much attention to the camera. It is a different experience when you are playing anchor. Getting used to having the camera follow you everywhere, have portions reshot was a different experience. It took some time to get used to it. I had great fun shooting the series.”

Apart from his anchor duties, Rhodes follows cricket passionately and contends that cricket is in midst of a very interesting era.

“Unlike the 80’s and the 90’s, no team is dominating all the formats. While India is very strong in home matches and has been impressive in one-day internationals (ODI’s), with both the World Cup and the Champions Trophy under its belt. However, India’s performance outside the subcontinent in the last couple of years has been abysmal.

“South Africa are by far the best Test unit, however, they have not managed to convert their Test form into ODIs. England is a very good team as well. Though wildly inconsistent, West Indies and Pakistan have players who can win matches for their teams. I feel that cricket will see better contests and closer games in the near future.”

Jonty puts his money on England winning the Ashes. “Winning three Test matches on the trot against a very good team is really tough. Australia is not the team they once were. I feel they will put up a better fight, but England should be able to retain the ashes. As with most great teams, Australia is facing the effects of the exit of a golden generation. I am sure that they will bounce back soon.”

South Africa With Jonty Rhodes goes on air from August 12 and will be showcased on Monday at 9.30 p.m. on NDTV Good Times.