Klaasen gets nod for Proteas’ test squad

24 February 2018 - 11:55
By Khanyiso Tshwaku
Heinrich Klaasen of South Africa bats during the 2018 2nd T20 match between South Africa and India at Supersport Park, Pretoria on 21 February 2018.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix Heinrich Klaasen of South Africa bats during the 2018 2nd T20 match between South Africa and India at Supersport Park, Pretoria on 21 February 2018.

Heinrich Klaasen's superlative limited overs form has been rewarded with a test squad call-up for the forthcoming series against Australia.

The Titans wicketkeeper-batsman has been joined by young Highveld Lions all-rounder Wiaan Mulder‚ who is currently on duty with South Africa A against the touring Australians in a three-day game at Willowmoore Park in Benoni.

Quinton de Kock is also back in the squad after missing a large chunk of the limited overs series with a wrist injury.

The incumbent wicketkeeper took part in a Sunfoil 3-Day Cup fixture for Easterns against the North West Dragons in Potchefstroom. De Kock rattled off 43 off 48 balls but comes off a difficult test series against India.

All-rounders Andile Phehlukwayo and Chris Morris are the two unfortunate souls who miss out‚ but they'll have the solace of taking part for their franchises in the Sunfoil Series that resumes on Thursday. Temba Bavuma and Theunis de Bruyn are also part of the squad while Dale Steyn continues his injury rehabilitation.

Klaasen has taken part on four of the Titans' seven matches but has totalled 292 run from six innings at an average of 48.66.

However‚ it has to have been his recent limited overs exploits for the national team that cemented his place in the squad.

In a limited overs leg of the India series where the Proteas have struggled Klaasen has been one of the shining lights. Proteas selection convenor Linda Zondi said it was difficult to leave Klaasen out.

“Klaasen has been tremendously impressive in the white-ball matches he has played for the Proteas and we firmly believe he can become just as good a player in the five-day format. He has averaged nearly 50 with the bat in Sunfoil four-day cricket this season and hit two centuries‚” Zondi said.

Mulder's move into the test squad is a clear indication of the plans in place in terms of an examination of which one of the young all-rounders is ready for test cricket.

Phehlukwayo had a reasonably decent outing in the third test against India on a spicy Wanderers pitch last month.

Mulder's had an excellent Sunfoil Series campaign with 370 runs at 61.66 and 15 wickets at 28.66. Should either Mulder or Klaasen get a test debut‚ they will become the 100th Proteas test cricketers to be capped since 1992.

“The selection of Mulder continues our strategy to expand our pool of all-rounders against top quality opposition. He is a batting all-rounder and his selection will depend on how we decide to balance our starting XI. He has been the top all-rounder in the Sunfoil Series with a batting average of 60 (one century) and 15 wickets at an average of 28‚” Zondi said.

“It has been very exciting this season to see the way young players have settled into the various Proteas squads and done well and this is a continuation of that policy.”