XtraTime Web Desk: The Rajasthan Royals have picked Heinrich Klaasen as the replacement for Steve Smith. The wicket-keeper batsman was picked for INR 50 lakh from the Registered and Available Player Pool (RAPP) list.
Heinrich is known for his quick hands and his ability to play in the middle of the innings. According to Zubin Bharucha, Head of Cricket, Rajasthan Royals, the way Klaasen played Indian spinners Yuzuvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav in the limited-overs series early in the year played some role in their decision along with his hard-hitting ability.
“We are delighted to have Klaasen onboard. His hard-hitting ability with plenty of options against spin makes him dangerous through the middle of an innings. What struck us about Klaasen other than his ability to strike a ball was his inherent hunger to make every opportunity count, this is a good space to be in as a cricketer and batsman. We look forward to working with Klaasen to ensure he has a great career in the IPL” said Bharucha.
The Pretoria-born batsman made his first-class debut for Northerns in the 2012-13 season, averaging 42.58 in the provincial three-day cup. Klaasen averaged 52.10 in the following summer and 65.25 in the one after that. He finally broke through to franchise cricket in the 2016-17 season. The right-handed batsman earned his maiden Test call-up last year in February after scoring 635 runs at an average of 48.84, including a season-best 195 in the four-day domestic series.He was the star performer in the second match of the 6 days series where he helped his team win with an impressive 43 off 27 balls.
“I am thankful to the Rajasthan Royals for giving me this opportunity and making me part of the squad. It would be my first IPL and in fact, my first ever visit to India so I am really excited to be teaming up and sharing the dressing room with some great names. I have made it my mission to ensure my performance makes a large impact for my team in the tournament” added Klaasen.