'I tried to copy AB de Villiers': Heinrich Klaasen doesn't need to 'prove anything to anyone' now | Crickit
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'I tried to copy AB de Villiers': Heinrich Klaasen doesn't need to 'prove anything to anyone' now

May 24, 2024 05:34 PM IST

Heinrich Klaasen will be raring to make a big impact in Qualifier 2 of the IPL 2024 where SRH will face Rajasthan Royals in Chennai.

South Africa batter Heinrich Klaasen has played a crucial role in Sunrisers Hyderabad finishing second in the league stage of the ongoing IPL 2024. He smashed 413 runs in 14 matches for SRH, comprising three fifties, at a strike rate of 180.35 and with a boundary every 4.4 balls. And with a non-boundary strike rate of 155, he has been one of the most complete batters this season.

Sunrisers Hyderabad's Heinrich Klaasen plays a shot during the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 first qualifier cricket match between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders at the Narendra Modi Stadium (AFP)
Sunrisers Hyderabad's Heinrich Klaasen plays a shot during the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 first qualifier cricket match between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders at the Narendra Modi Stadium (AFP)

On Friday, Klaasen will be raring to make a big impact in Qualifier 2 of the IPL 2024 where Sunrisers will face Rajasthan Royals at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. Ahead of the match, Klaasen opened up on the time when he was compared to the great AB de Villiers very early in his career, which eventually "messed up" with his natural game and led to him losing a spot in the South Africa team.

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"I've definitely matured a lot," he told Cricbuzz when asked to compare himself to the 2018 version when he had made his international debut. "I am not trying to impress anyone anymore. I think back then it was almost like I had to show off all my skills that I've got and I was also compared to a guy who can play 360 degrees [AB de Villiers]. So I wanted to show all the shots that I had which messed with my mind quite a bit. Through learning and my experiences, through the years, I've been dropped and my game was in such terrible shape that I really had to go rediscover who the real Heinrich Klaasen was. Where I am sitting right now, it is a lot simpler. Back that one skillset and knowing on the day that if I really need to, I can go to option B and C. So I think it's the maturity."

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When asked if he had a word with De Villiers on his power game, Klaasen stressed that he did try to copy a few of his shots in attempting sixes, but understood that it did not suit his style. The 32-year-old, however, was all praise for the former South Africa captain for his ability to read the bowler early.

"He's a freak of nature in my eyes. The way he does things... I've been fortunate enough to bat with him. He's obviously a super talent but his brain just works on a different level. That's what made him a genius. And his areas are a lot different.

There was a year that I tried to copy one or two of his shots but it just didn't suit my game. He's a special human being. The genius of his work was that he can know exactly where the bowler will bowl about 70-80% of the time, and that's not something you can teach or learn from anyone," he said.

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