Klaasen al­ways wants to do well for coach Boucher

Pretoria News - - SPORT - ZAAHIER ADAMS [email protected]

IT has taken al­most the en­tire sum­mer, but fi­nally some­one from within the Proteas camp has ad­mit­ted it.

“It’s not the Quin­ton de Kock show,” said Boland Park cen­tu­rion Hein­rich Klaasen af­ter the Proteas’ 74-run vic­tory against Aus­tralia in the first ODI on Satur­day.

“He is an in­cred­i­ble, player but we can’t put all the pres­sure on him. The coach has been ask­ing for some­one else to step up. Quin­ton can’t bat for 50 overs on his own.” The fact that the ugly truth came from ar­guably the least ex­pres­sive char­ac­ter in the Proteas team speaks vol­umes. South Africa can sim­ply not rely solely on their new lim­ited-overs cap­tain if they con­sis­tently want to win games of cricket.

And when De Kock was back in the hut af­ter just 38 balls of the open­ing ODI, there were many at the pic­turesque Winelands venue that be­lieved the match was over as a con­test.

How­ever, Klaasen may not be one of many words – much like De Kock – but he cer­tainly is a de­ter­mined char­ac­ter and put his shoul­der to the wheel to carve out a maiden ODI cen­tury that set SA on their way. It was an in­nings of great re­solve for the pitch wasn’t the eas­i­est to play freely on, and bats­men needed to be pa­tient be­fore they could ex­e­cute their skills. Klaasen did this ex­cel­lently as his in­nings slowly gath­ered mo­men­tum be­fore haul­ing out the in­no­va­tive re­verse-sweep and pad­dle over the shoul­der strokes.

SA have also struggled to put to­gether in­flu­en­tial part­ner­ships this sea­son, and Klaasen rec­ti­fied this too by adding firstly 78 with debu­tant Kyle Ver­reynne be­fore a fur­ther 149 with David Miller.

“The mes­sage came out from the coach (Mark Boucher) to say, ‘You are do­ing a good job,’” Klaasen said. “He said if we go three or four an over for the next 15 overs, he was happy. That set a trend that we don’t need to try too many things. We didn’t have to worry about try­ing too many things, just take the low-risk op­tion. Just happy that we soaked up the pres­sure a bit.

“The two part­ner­ships were cru­cial be­cause we just had to make sure we take it deep. Over the last cou­ple of weeks we have bombed out quite a bit, so we’ve been chat­ting a lot about maybe just taking it a bit deeper if we are in trou­ble up­front and that’s ex­actly what we did.”

It is clearly ev­i­dent that Klaasen holds Boucher in high re­gard. The mes­sage sent out to the mid­dle was just a small in­di­ca­tor.

The pair have been work­ing closely to­gether for a num­ber of years in Boucher’s pre­vi­ous role at the Ti­tans. In fact, Boucher’s el­e­va­tion to the na­tional side had an ad­verse ef­fect on Klaasen, but now that they are back to­gether again with the Proteas it bodes well for the fu­ture.

“It’s al­ways good to know that your coach backs you,” Klaasen said. “We have got a good re­la­tion­ship, which changed in the last cou­ple of months be­cause he came up. That was a dif­fi­cult tran­si­tion for my cricket.

“But I fell back to guys who know my game well. I al­ways wanted to do well for him (Boucher) be­cause of the re­la­tion­ship we have.”

Hein­rich Klaasen

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