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Hockey team has an admirer in Rhodes

September 02, 2004 19:00 IST

The Indian hockey team might have finished a dismal seventh at the Athens Olympics, but it has not lost out on one of its celebrated admirers in former South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes.

Rhodes, a former hockey international himself, believes that the team, which taught the South Africans how to dribble, plays some exciting hockey that is unmatched.

"They play quite an exciting game. It's great to watch them in action," Rhodes told reporters in Delhi on Thursday after unveiling the designer trophy that would be presented to the winner of the ICC Cricketer of the Year, to be announced next week.

The 37-year-old, who represented his country in both hockey and cricket, said he followed the Olympics on television and even watched South Africa's match against India, which the latter won 4-2.

"I watched the hockey matches on TV besides gymnastic, table tennis and badminton."

Few may know that Rhodes was selected in the hockey team as a center-forward for the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 but he preferred to stick to cricket.

Four years later, he was called for the hockey trials for the Atlanta Olympics but a hamstring injury prevented him from joining the camp.

Rhodes, now working for a South African bank, was also impressed by the "knowledgeable cricket fans" of India, "who seem to be very passionate about the game and know everything about it".

"It's amazing to see people's passion for cricket. They love the game and the players. The fans and supporters are knowledegable and it's wonderful to see that."

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