Heinrich Klaasen keeps it real‚ but creative

Heinrich Klaasen of South Africa during the 3rd Momentum ODI match between South Africa and Zimbabwe at Eurolux Boland Park on October 06, 2018 in Paarl, South Africa.
Heinrich Klaasen of South Africa during the 3rd Momentum ODI match between South Africa and Zimbabwe at Eurolux Boland Park on October 06, 2018 in Paarl, South Africa.
Image: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

Heinrich Klaasen is 27 going on as old as you need to be to know the truth about this cruel‚ crazy‚ chaotic game called white-ball cricket.

“It’s not about hitting the ball out of the ground‚ it’s about a positive mindset‚” Klaasen told reporters in Paarl on Saturday after scoring 59‚ his maiden half-century in a South Africa shirt‚ in the third one-day international against Zimbabwe.

“That means you need to graft‚ like the first two games in Kimberley and Bloemfontein.

“It’s not all about hitting fours and sixes. It’s about playing long innings and trying to put pressure on the bowlers.”

In Kimberley‚ on a pitch that made fools of all of us who said you can have any kind of surface you like in the old diamond dorp as long as it’s as flat as the Big Hole is deep‚ his “graft” was worth 44.

In Bloemfontein‚ on another out-of-character pitch‚ he dragged the third ball he faced — which didn’t get up and made his feet look like they were cast in lead — onto his stumps.

Despite his protests‚ Klaasen isn’t half bad at “hitting the ball out of the ground”.

He smacked six fours and six‚ or more than half his runs‚ on Saturday and his 44 in Kimberley flowed at a run-a-ball with 32 coming in boundaries.

But he was reluctant to put himself in the league of Quinton de Kock‚ who was rested for the series.

“I’m focusing on asking the right questions‚” Klaasen said.

“The only way to do that is to put the runs on the board and do the work behind the stumps.

“If he gets injured you want to be the first guy who comes up.”

So speaks a player who has come to terms with his game enough to admit the folly of stepping too far out of the box last season: “I tried to bowl a few filthy overs of spin.”

But that hasn’t stopped him from keeping it creative as well as real: “There’s also an opportunity to play in the team as a batter; it’s more about playing as a batter than a keeper.”

Not that Klaasen’s glovework isn’t the business‚ as attested to by his lightning strike on Saturday to stump Brendan Taylor — whose foot hovered rather than lifted above the crease for but a moment.

De Kock hammering runs up the order and keeping wicket?

Klaasen directing middle order operations and roaming the field?

Or permutations of the above?

Nevermind catches‚ it’s options that win matches.

X