Heinrich Klaasen will replace Steve Smith in the Rajasthan Royals’ squad for this season’s Indian Premier League.
The South African wicketkeeper-batsman had a nifty start to his international career on the shortest formats. His claim to fame, ironically, came against India in February at the Wanderers, when he smashed 43 not out in the Pink ODI to seal the Proteas’ only win in the six-match series.
He improved on this performance in the T20I series. Klaasen hit a Man of the Match 69 in front of his home fans in Centurion, to guide South Africa to their only win in the three-match T20I series.
He will replace former Australia captain Steve Smith who was handed a 12-month ban for his involvement in the ball-tampering scandal which took place in the third Test between South Africa and Australia in Cape Town.
Smith was still eligible to play in the IPL, until the BCCI banned Smith and former Australia vice-captain David Warner from playing in the tournament.
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Smith, who was skipper of the Royals, has been replaced by Ajinkya Rahane, who confirmed that Klaasen will join up with the squad before the tournament begins on 7 April.
Rahane refused to talk about Smith’s ban.
‘Whatever had to happen has happened. It’s bygone now. It is not for me to comment on the amount of penalty handed to him by the Cricket Australia and the ICC,’ said Rahane.
‘But his cricketing record should be respected. I respect him as a batsman and player.
‘Yes, we would miss him but we have a replacement in Heinrich Klaasen.’
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