Jonty Rhodes was with the Mumbai IPL outfit for the past nine seasons. © BCCI

Jonty Rhodes was with the Mumbai IPL outfit for the past nine seasons. © BCCI

James Pamment, the Northern Districts head coach and a fielding specialist at New Zealand Cricket, will replace Jonty Rhodes as Mumbai Indians’ fielding coach, the franchise announced on Thursday (December 7).

Rhodes, the former South African player, is leaving the Indian Premier League defending champions after nine seasons with the team to pursue personal business ventures. Rhodes joined the set-up in 2009, and Mumbai subsequently won three IPL titles — 2013, 2015, 2017 — as well as two Champions League Twenty20 titles in 2011 and 2013.

“It has been a remarkable journey with Mumbai Indians, one that I will cherish all my life,” reminisced Rhodes. “Over the last nine years, Mumbai Indians has set sporting benchmarks both on and off the field, and personally, it’s been quite a remarkable journey for me to work with fantastic set of individuals like Sachin (Tendulkar), Rohit (Sharma), Anil (Kumble), Ricky (Ponting), Mahela (Jayawardene) and all the support staff and players over the years.

“The teams’ focus on young talent and persisting with them is something I believed in and it was heartening to see the players buying into my methods. Finally, all the success wouldn’t have been possible if it hadn’t been for the Paltan’s support – the greatest fans ever! Like them, I will be an MI fan forever.”

Akash Ambani, the Mumbai Indians owner, showered rich praise on Rhodes. “Jonty has been a pillar of strength and energy in Mumbai Indians. His contribution cannot be valued in words,” said Ambani. “Jonty will always be a part of Mumbai Indians family for life.”

Ambani also indicated that Pamment was the natural choice, and outlined the reasoning. “James is an experienced coach at the international level having worked with New Zealand Cricket as fielding specialist and development.

“What impressed us was the way James had coached Northern Districts in Champions League T20 in 2014, and to be honest, his sides’ fielding unit was one of the best Mumbai Indians had ever faced.”

Pamment represented Auckland at the first-class and List A levels before taking on the role of High Performance Coach at Bay of Plenty Cricket Association, and Northern Districts Cricket Association, where he has worked with several prominent international players such as Kane Williamson, Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Corey Anderson.

His success at the domestic level landed him opportunities with New Zealand Cricket, and he worked closely with New Zealand Under-19, New Zealand A and the men’s national teams, with focus on specialist fielding skills.

“It’s an honour for me to join the ranks of Mumbai Indians,” said Pamment. “It will be a great challenge and at the same time a privilege to fulfil the duties of a role that was held by someone like Jonty. He has instilled a brilliant work culture among the players, on and off the field, and the results are out there for everyone to see. Mumbai Indians is a champion outfit and I am grateful to the team’s ownership for giving me this opportunity.