Rajasthan Royals today declared that South Africa’s Heinrich Klaasen will be replacing skipper Steve Smith who got banned after the ball tampering issue.
Smith, who admitted to pre-meditated ball tampering in the Cape Town Test against South Africa, was handed a 12-month ban by Cricket Australia and subsequently, BCCI barred him from participating in the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League. Royals then announced Ajinkya Rahane as their captain for IPL 2018.
Klaasen, who made his international debut against India earlier in the home season, showed his clean-hitting abilities against spin in the four ODIs and three T20Is he played – a reason Royals’ Head of Cricket Zubin Bharucha singled out as the deciding factor in picking the South African wicketkeeper-batsman over others.
“Klaasen is an amazing player of spin. And he has a vast array of shots, which tempted us to go for him. He plays the reverse sweep very well, something that will be quite useful in the IPL,” Bharucha told TOI, admitting that the way Klaasen handled Indian spinners Yuzuvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav tilted the scales in his favour.
“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,” said Klaasen.