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IPL 2018: Rajasthan Royals target Heinrich Klassen as Steve Smith’s replacement

Rajasthan Royals have sought the services of South Africa wicketkeeper Heinrich Klassen as a replacement for Steve Smith after the Australia batsman was banned for a year following the ball-tampering row.

cricket Updated: Mar 31, 2018 11:16 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Indian Premier League,IPL 2018,Rajasthan Royals
Heinrich Klassen smashed a fifty in the Twenty20 against India and also helped South Africa to victory in the Johannesburg game, which was their only win in the ODI series which they lost 1-5.(BCCI)

With Steve Smith banned for the 2018 Indian Premier League (IPL) after the ball-tampering row in the Newlands Test against South Africa, Rajasthan Royals (RR) has turned to South Africa wicketkeeper Heinrich Klaasen as his replacement.

Cricket Australia served Smith and David Warner, who was slated to lead Sunrisers Hyderabad, with a 12-month ban following the incident. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) followed suit and banned the duo from this edition of the tournament, forcing Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad to hunt for new replacements.

According to Rajasthan Royals head of cricket Zubin Bharucha, Klaasen seems to be the best choice given his ability to tackle spin bowlers.

“Our aim was to get someone who can play spin well because we are pretty sure that spinners will have a big role to play during the IPL,” Bharucha was quoted as saying by Times of India.

According to Bharucha, the way Klaasen played Indian spinners Yuzuvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav in the limited-overs series early in the year played a key role in their decision.

“Klaasen is an amazing player of spin. He has a vast array of shots, which tempted us to go for him. He plays the reverse sweep very well,” Bharucha said.

Bharucha highlighted Klaasen’s role and also conceded that South Africa’s wicketkeeper batsmen was swift in his acceptance of their offer.

“Smith will be back with us next year and we did not want to end up with two similar players. Our idea was to build the team keeping three years in mind. Even after Smith is back, Klaasen will be very useful for us,” said Bharucha.

Rajasthan Royals are set to pay Klaasen’s base price of Rs.50 lakh while the Rs.12.5 Crore used to retain Smith will be blocked for the Australian batsman’s services next year.

First Published: Mar 31, 2018 11:11 IST