In the second of our 'Expert view' features ? ahead of the Proteas tour of England ? iafrica.com's Barend Prins caught up with one of the most recognisable faces in South African cricket, Jonty Rhodes.
Rhodes, the darling of the 1992 World Cup, was a fixture in the Proteas team for more than a decade and went on two tours of England. He shares his experiences of the 1998 tour with us.
JONTY RHODES ON...Why touring England is so tough:
"What makes England a hard place to tour is the amount of cricket being played. You play against a lot of County teams in between Tests in a series that lasts two or two-and-a-half months. It's more of a marathon than a sprint in that respect."
What went right during the tour in 1998:
"Allan Donald and Shaun Pollock carried the attack to an extent, as Ntini, Adams and the rest of the bowlers were still fairly inexperienced. But we proved that we could bowl them out nonetheless. Hansie (Cronje) had a unique way of captaining, in that Gary (Kirsten) was in charge of the batting, Allan (Donald) the bowling and me the fielding. We came to a point where we realised that scoring centuries wasn't always enough, that we needed bigger scores. We grew up thinking that once you get to a 100, the job is done. We tried to change that way of thinking."
Where it went wrong:
"The wicket during the third Test at Manchester was flat and Donald ended up breaking down in an attempt to get the English out. We got them nine down, but couldn't get the last wicket in time."
What could have been done differently:
"Not a whole lot to be honest. In hindsight, where we lost the series effectively was in the third Test in Manchester. We posted a big score with Gary getting a double and Jacques getting a ton. We batted for about 200 overs and ended up not having enough time to bowl England out a second time."
Whether the Proteas can win in England in 2008:
"Yes definitely. We've shown that we have a bowling attack than can take 20 wickets. Our batting line-up has gotten runs on the sub-continent where it obviously turns, but we've also played under circumstances where it reverses. I don't think the English wickets will be as juicy as they've been before, as it is a little later in the English season already."
Who the key performers will be this year:
"Obviously Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis are very important for us. Graeme has played some County cricket now and scores his runs very quickly. Neil is batting out of position a bit, but he is very experienced. Hashim (Amla) gives us something different, as he isn't really a 'South African' batsman. He is much wristier than any of our other batsmen, which gives the team something different. AB de Villiers is another to look out for. Ashwell (Prince) is probably the only one of our batsmen that hasn't scored much in the last series or two. All of our top six can score big scores though, which is something we've not had before.
"England have had a solid summer, and they're a good team, but other than Kevin Pietersen I don't see anyone in their line-up that could take the game away from you. Cook and Strauss are accomplished players, but they don't score too quickly. Vaughan is a good leader and England seem to do well with him at the crease, but if he gets out they seem to lose their way sometimes."
We've heard from some players now, so tomorrow we talk to a member of the coaching staff during the 2003 tour.
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