Jonty still misses `good friend` Cronje and coach Woolmer

Johannesburg: Former South Africa cricketer and now Mumbai Indians fielding coach Jonty Rhodes on Wednesday said he still misses his late good friend, ex-South Africa skipper Hansie Cronje and coach Bob Woolmer, who suddenly died during the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies.

Rhodes was also sure that if the duo were around now they would have been "very happy to see the game grow" in South Africa.

"Hansie (Cronje) and Bob (Woolmer) were two very positive people who made massive contribution to South Africa cricket. I miss both of them. Hansie was a good friend," Jonty said on the sidelines of a Mumbai Indians training session at the Wanderers here ahead of the Champions League Twenty20.

"Both of them were so passionate about the game and if they were alive, they would have loved to see cricket grow," he added.

While Cronje, who was banned for life for his role in the match-fixing scandal in 2000, died in a plane crash in 2002, Woolmer was found dead in his hotel room in Jamaica during the World Cup.

In spite of all the malice against Cronje, Jonty feels the former captain and coach Woolmer had a big role to play in the game`s development in South Africa.

"He (Cronje) made huge contribution to cricket in South Africa. He was a hard worker and along with Bob (Woolmer) made South Africa from a good side to a great side," said the still agile 41-year-old Jonty, who is regarded as one of the best fielders the game has ever produced.

"Obviously, Hansie did a mistake and he was punished for it but his death was very tragic," he added.

Jonty also said that he was highly impressed with the quality of fielding, especially of the old horses, in Twenty20 tournaments like Indian Premier League and CLT20.

"I must say that I have been impressed by everybody`s fielding. Old guys like (Rahul) Dravid and (Sourav) Ganguly were awesome during the IPL. Ganguly took a very good catch during the IPL," Jonty said.