Consistent batting excellence and a continuation of the rapid evolution that saw him complete 37 dismissals behind the stumps in a season which ended with three Multiply Titans awards as well as selection as reserve wicketkeeper-batsman for South Africa’s Test series against New Zealand, are Heinrich Klaasen’s medium-term goals.
The 25-year old is a member of the South Africa ‘A’ squad that will participate in a triangular one-day series against India ‘A’ and Afghanistan ‘A’. The series gets underway on Wednesday when India and meet Afghanistan at LC de Villiers Oval, before SA ‘A’ open their campaign against the former on Friday at the same venue.
Klaasen was disappointed with his batting exploits in the recent SA ‘A’ tour of England, after starting well with a century against Hampshire before three low scores followed. The tourist eventually lost the one-off four-day game against the Lions by 257 runs.
“Despite the result of the series, it was a great experience playing against the Duke-ball,” reflected Klaasen.
“Looking ahead to the triangular series, I do think we have a good chance of winning the tournament. We have quality and all of the players have a point to prove to the selectors, because the next stop is the national team.”
“Personally, I am not thinking right now about the South African Test team. What I am focusing on, is improving my consistency for the Multiply Titans.”
One of Klaasen’s greatest qualities is his batting class. He considers his primary asset his batting, with his keeping the second bow to his string.
The right-hander demonstrated that by hammering 195 against the Hollywoodbets Dolphins in a last season’s four-day competition which yielded 635 runs.
A remarkable facet of his batting performances was his ability to step up to the plate and score heavily when Boucher promoted him from the middle-order to the top-order for the final three Sunfoil Series clashes of the season.
“Working with Mark Boucher was a great bonus last season. I learned so much as wicketkeeper,” said Klaasen. “I successfully implemented small tips on how to stand up against the spinners, or on how to improve my catching or stumping when the ball was bouncing and turning sharply.”
“Mark challenged me. Those challenges included not once dropping the ball in a session when fielders were returning the ball from the boundary, or not dropping one catch.
“I am committed to continue those improvements under Boucher.”
The humble batsman knows he is not the finished article yet, and astonishingly declares he is not sure he will be in the starting eleven for the triangular series against India ‘A’ and Afghanistan ‘A’.
Yet, if the impressive Klaasen can continue the irresistible form that made him a popular choice for three Titans awards last season, including Player of the Year, there is little doubt about a starting berth in Shukri Conrad’s team in the triangular series.