- In March, batsman Heinrich Klaasen starred for the Proteas as they sealed a 3-0 ODI series win against Australia.
- However, Klaasen was notably omitted from Cricket South Africa's list of contracted players for the 2020/21 season.
- Speaking to Sport24, Klaasen is determined to come back from lockdown stronger than ever.
Proteas wicketkeeper-batsman Heinrich Klaasen is determined to prove his critics wrong as he fights for his place in the national side.
Before the pandemic suspended all activity, Klaasen was in fine form against Australia in the three-match ODI series in March.
Klaasen ended as the leading run-scorer in the series, scoring 242 runs, which included an unbeaten 123 at Boland Park.
Speaking to Sport24, Klaasen acknowledged that he needed to perform this summer after he was subsequently left out of the Proteas 2019 Cricket World Cup squad.
"It was a big couple of series especially after being left out of the World Cup squad as I didn't perform in the build-up to the World Cup last year," said Klaasen.
"I wanted to perform and use that form to keep my name around the selectors and prove that I can be more consistent in the squad.
"I know I can play at that level, it's just about being more consistent and working on that part of the game and not being a soft cricketer and not making it easy to get myself out."
Despite his stellar performance against the Australians, Klaasen failed to secure a national contract for the 2020/21 season.
The lockdown, though, was the perfect antidote to what had been a busy summer and it gave Klaasen a chance to reflect on his past failures.
"The start of lockdown was quite refreshing and my body recovered from a busy summer," said Klaasen.
"This lockdown has given me time to reflect on who I am - just a way to get away from the game and get the hunger back. But it has been frustrating to see all the other countries play cricket while we've been sitting at home."
Despite his career not going as he had expected, Klaasen is proud of his achievements thus far.
"(My career has) definitely been up and down, there have been opportunities that I wasted or the timing wasn't right. If I had to stop cricket now, I'd be happy with what I've achieved but I know I can do even more," said Klaasen.
"I've been fortunate enough to travel around the world and play in tournaments like the IPL. There's an urge to be even better and be more consistent and be one of the world's best players and it's a goal that I've set myself.
"There have been a lot of fightbacks, which I'm very proud of. I didn't give up, which I easily could've done. I'm proud of where I am and what I've achieved so far. Yes, I would've loved to do better because I know what I'm capable of, especially with what I've done against Australia."
Cricket South Africa announced the return of professional cricket with the 4-Day Franchise Series set to get underway on 2 November.
Klaasen is keen to get back on the field for the Titans as they kick-off their campaign against the Cape Cobras at Newlands.
"We've been training really hard at the Titans and we'll be ready to rumble when the time comes. The boys are keen to get on the park."
Titans contracted players for 2020/2021: Matthew Arnold, Neil Brand, Ryan Cartwright, Okhule Cele, Junior Dala, Henry Davids, Theunis de Bruyn, Dayyaan Galiem, Heinrich Klaasen, Gregory Mahlokwana, Sibonelo Makhanya, Thando Ntini, Diego Rosier, Kabelo Sekhukune, Grant Thomson, Lizaad Williams
Rookies: Khwezi Gumede, Rubin Hermann
CSA contracted national players: Quinton de Kock, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi, Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar and Faf du Plessis