SA to give their best in Twenty20 series, says Klaasen


LAHORE: Showing no worries over his country’s recent 2-0 drubbing in the Test series against Pakistan, South Africa’s Twenty20 captain Heinrich Klaasen on Tuesday said his side would be giving their best in the upcoming series of the game’s shortest format.

The three-match series starts here on Thursday, with all the matches to be held at the Gaddafi Stadium.

“Look it was different [Test] squad and as I was not involved in that series, fairly I have no comment over that series. But yes in the T20 series our boys will be giving their best as they are here to represent their country,” Klaasen, who will play his first game since Dec 3 when he was tested positive for Covid-19 during the white-ball series against England at home, said.

Wicket-keeper/batsman Klaasen, who has so far played 13 T20 Internationals and will lead South Africa for the first time in the Pakistan T20 series, said the entire coaching staff had joined the T20 squad from Rawalpindi in Lahore last night.

The South African T20 team has been practising in Lahore for the last five days while its Test squad was busy in Rawalpindi, playing the second Test, which they lost by 95 runs after losing the first Test by seven wickets in Karachi.

Klaasen, 29, negated the impression that in fact his was a second-string South African side, insisting the team had a good combination and would give its best against Pakistan to win the series.

The South African T20 squad is without seasoned campaigners like Quinton de Kock, Kagiso Rabada, Faf du Plessis, Rassie van der Dussen and Lungi Ngidi as all of them returned with the Test squad as per previous plan to meet Australia in the Test series at home.

Though the series was cancelled after Australia’s recent withdrawal due to Covid-19 risk, the South African Test players could not change their travelling plan due to shortage of time.

Those who have been retained include head coach Mark Boucher and assistant coach Enoch Nkwe, who have been joined by South African ‘A’ coach Malibongwe Maketa and Dolphins franchise coach Imran Khan.

Charl Langeveldt and Justin Ontong, the bowling and fielding coach respectively, have also gone back home with the Test squad.

About his own fitness after recovering from the Covid-19 virus, Klaasen said though he was playing first match after more than two months, he was confident that in the practice sessions he had been striking the ball well.

“I have played only four matches which has been frustrating so it is difficult to tell you what my form is like. We will see after these [T20] games, however, I am hitting the ball really nicely to get some rhythm,” he said.

Klaasen also shared his experience of isolation and warned the cricketers to be aware of the Covid-19 virus.