Klaasen always wants to do well for coach Boucher
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.”