Sun, 20 Jun 2021

  • Proteas stand-in T20 captain Heinrich Klaasen said the Indian Premier League would be like a second T20 World Cup for the guys taking part.
  • Klaasen has taken part in previous IPL tournaments, but won't be part of the festivities this year.
  • Klaasen is standing in for Temba Bavuma, who injured his hamstring in the third ODI against Pakistan on Wednesday.

Proteas stand-in T20 captain Heinrich Klaasen said the Indian Premier League (IPL) is like a second T20 World Cup for those taking part.

The Proteas relinquished five important players to the IPL that started on Friday in Chennai with the game between the Royal Challengers Bangalore and the defending champions, the Mumbai Indians.

READ | PREVIEW: 10 South Africans looking to light up the 2021 IPL

South Africa will be hosting Pakistan at the Wanderers on Saturday in the first of four T20's in what will effectively be a continuation of the short format engagement the sides were locked in earlier this year in Pakistan.

The absence of the big-name players was keenly felt in the third ODI defeat at SuperSport Park on Wednesday, but Klaasen is all about the opportunities presented by the absentees.

"The IPL is a massive competition. It's almost like a second [T20] World Cup for the guys who are playing there. We've got our processes that we need to follow to play the brand of cricket that we want to play," Klaasen said.

"This is also a great time to look at other players who may not necessarily be in the first XI, but have a chance as backup players.

"It's an unbelievable opportunity for us to use them well, while the other guys are playing in the conditions that will be encountered in the World Cup. There's a good opportunity for the youngsters and new faces to prove to the selectors what they have."

There is also the absence of marquee players like captain Temba Bavuma and Rassie van der Dussen through injury while Reeza Hendricks is on paternity leave. There's also Dwaine Pretorius' injury-enforced absence that's left the Proteas relatively thin on experience.

Klaasen, though, isn't too concerned by the losses and his own form struggles after a bout of Covid-19 that laid him low last year.

"We don't have the big players here, but we're a very strong side and we have a lot of guys who are good in this format. I'm still hitting the ball very well, but it's small decisions that get me into trouble when I'm batting," Klaasen said.

"My confidence is still nice and high. It's just a matter of time before things come together again."

Play on Saturday starts at 14:30.

Source: News24

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