Twelfth Man: New class of Rhodes scholars

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THIS week's release of the South African tour itinerary brings closer the prospect of English spectators being treated to the sight of the world's most exciting fielder in action.

Jonty Rhodes, clean-cut Christian and hyperactive batsman, will at present only be known to those who saw him run out Inzamam-ul-Haq with a flying leap that demolished all three stumps in the World Cup.

That incident, which became the subject of South Africa's top-selling poster, was typical of his ground fielding, which is a cross between Derek Randall and Roger Harper.

Rhodes, in London recently to film the fielding section of MCC's new coaching video, was the first fielder to run someone out by television replay - Sachin Tendulkar in Durban last November - and has been known to field the ball on the long-on boundary, having run from his customary position at backward point.

His impact in the Republic is illustrated by Brian Mitchell, a Johannesburg teacher, who said: 'Now when I take the kids for cricket no one wants to bat or bowl. All they want to do is field like Jonty.'

ONE player unlikely to appear in next summer's series is David Lawrence, the Gloucestershire fast bowler, whose career has been so badly affected by knee injury.

Lawrence, who suffered a shattered kneecap playing for England in New Zealand in early 1992, bowled in a recent benefit match at, according to the newly resigned county captain, Tony Wright, 'reasonable pace'.

But Wright, who badly missed Lawrence during his reign, said: 'He does not feel he is capable of playing four-day cricket and cannot see himself making a living out of the one-day game alone.'

IT SHOULD be a highlight of any player's career scrapbook - to be picked to illustrate the cover of a World Cup programme. For Lisa Nye, though, the cover is as far as she will get when the women's World Cup opens on Tuesday.

Nye, a wicketkeeper, was left out of the England squad despite achieving a women's world record of eight dismissals in an innings in New Zealand last year.

MUCH as Nottinghamshire players are pleased to see the off-spinner Mike Field-Buss among the wickets, there will have been some relief in the Trent Bridge dressing-room at his recent absence from the team.

Field-Buss is one of those players who likes to wear the same kit when he is doing well, and he is having his best season this year. The only problem is the kit can get a bit iffy. 'If I am bowling well I don't tend to change my gear at an interval like a lot of bowlers do, especially in hot weather,' Field-Buss said.

SHOULD D Maycock, of Worthing, be inclined to share his bottle of Aberlour whisky - won for having named Graham Gooch's England opening partners - with all the players involved, he would have little left for himself.

Beginning with Mike Brearley and ending with Alec Stewart, the list numbers 17. It also includes Geoff Boycott, Chris Tavare, Geoff Cook, Tim Robinson, Wilf Slack, Mark Benson, Martyn Moxon, Bill Athey, Chris Broad, Tim Curtis, John Stephenson, Wayne Larkins, Michael Atherton, Hugh Morris - and David Gower, in the second innings at Sydney in 1991.

Next week's bottle goes to the best explanation of the sign seen in the bar at Guildford during Surrey's match with Gloucestershire this week, which read: 'Please do not ask for prompt service as a request to join Lancashire may offend.'

SATURDAY SURFIE: The Sheilas. Prominent in the crowd at Trent Bridge last week was the selection of Australian players' wives, fiancees and girlfriends and the area around the front of the Parr Stand resembling a creche.

On the 1989 tour, wives were banned from team hotels after a secret vote - which created some annoyance given that single players were allowed to invite company over the threshold. This year, matters are more relaxed and several partners have taken the opportunity to come over. Allan Border's wife, Jane, is living in a rented house in Essex and has put the kids into school. Others, such as Paul Reiffel's Lancashire- born wife, have taken the chance to catch up with relatives.