An invitational Israel XI, featuring Jonty Rhodes and Adam Bacher, lost the first two one-day matches against India A in Ashdod in a series organised as part of the celebration of Israel’s 60th anniversary.
The Israel team was made up of Jewish cricketers from around the world, including players from Australia, Ireland, India, South Africa as well as former international star Rhodes.
Israel were dismissed for 52 in the opener as India won by nine wickets. Rhodes, 38, and former Ireland captain Jason Molins top-scored with 11.
Israel put in a vastly improved performance in the second match, scoring 223. But they fell 90 runs short of India’s total of 313-5. Bacher was Israel’s highest scorer with 74 runs off 57 balls including eight sixes. Molins added 55 while Rhodes retired injured.
Rhodes, who retired in 2003, spoke of his admiration for Israel. Saying his only experience of the country was through Leon Uris’s book, Exodus, Rhodes was “desperate” to visit, and took time off between matches to travel to the north and Jerusalem with his wife.
“I’m a Christian, so for me this place has a massive relevance and I was desperate to come,” he said. “My knowledge of Israel comes from ‘Exodus’ and how tenacious and determined the people here are to have transformed the desert into this thriving economy. It’s genius, and the people here are tenacious to be able to make a living in a really harsh environment.”
“I think they really would make great cricket players. If you can turn a desert into a garden you would be an awesome cricketer because you have determination and grit.” The third match took place on Wednesday.