Heinrich Klaasen to captain new-look Proteas in Pakistan T20s

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Heinrich Klaasen (Gallo)
Heinrich Klaasen (Gallo)

Heinrich Klaasen will captain the Proteas' T20 squad against Pakistan in a three-match series scheduled to take place in Lahore next month.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) announced a much-changed Proteas squad on Tuesday for the matches that will take place from 11 to 14 February. 

The changes form part of the measures put in place by CSA to ensure that the Test squad, captained by Quinton de Kock, can return to South Africa and satisfy the overseas travel Covid-19 quarantine protocol ahead of that team’s upcoming three-match Test Series against Australia. 

“The Covid-19 pandemic has compelled sporting bodies to find innovative ways of ensuring tours and sporting events take place as planned or with as little disruption to revised plans as possible. We are not exempt from that, and have had to do a bit of outside-of-the-box thinking to ensure that we are fully prepared for a home Test tour against Australia, while having an exciting T20 series to compete in, in Pakistan," said CSA's director of cricket, Graeme Smith.

“The circumstances we find ourselves in allow the national selection panel to cast a wide net and give some of the young and exciting talent that has been in their sights the opportunity of a lifetime in a T20 World Cup year,” Smith added.

The squad includes a number of new faces with Okuhle Cele, Ryan Rickleton, Nandre Burger and Jacques Snyman all receiving maiden call-ups. 

Glenton Stuurman will return to the national team after a left quadriceps muscle strain saw him released from the Test squad ahead of the start of the second match against Sri Lanka and Johannesburg.

Dwaine Pretorius, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lutho Sipamla and George Linde from the Test squad have also been included for the T20 fixtures. They, along with Andile Phehlukwayo, Reeza Hendricks and Jon-Jon Smuts, will offer the required experience that the predominantly youthful squad will require to excel in Lahore.

CSA convenor of selectors, Victor Mpitsang says that while the team is inexperienced, he had high hopes for their success in Pakistan.

“A lot will be said about the inexperience of this team, but the selection panel and I believe we have a special group of players in this team that will do us proud in Pakistan. It’s a big year for T20 international cricket, with the World Cup coming up and this is the ideal opportunity for youngsters to put their hands up and grab opportunities, however they may come.

“We are excited to see what these youngsters will do under what won’t be the easiest of conditions, but more than that, we as a panel, are looking forward to seeing the more experienced players step up as leaders and take ownership of the team," he added.

Mpitsang says Klaasen was not new to leadership as he had captained the Titans on numerous occasions and was well-suited to the job.

“We fully support Heinrich Klaasen with the captaincy role. He is not new to leading a team and has done so throughout his career. We know he is more than up for the challenge and will represent South Africa well in Pakistan." 

Proteas T20 Squad to Pakistan is as follows:

Heinrich Klaasen (captain, Titans), Nandre Burger (Cape Cobras), Okuhle Cele (Titans), Junior Dala (Titans), Bjorn Fortuin (Lions), Reeza Hendricks (Lions), George Linde (Cape Cobras), Janneman Malan (Cape Cobras), David Miller (Dolphins), Andile Phehlukwayo (Dolphins), Dwaine Pretorius (Lions), Ryan Rickleton (Lions), Tabraiz Shamsi (Titans), Lutho Sipamla (Lions), Jon-Jon Smuts (Warriors), Pite van Biljon (Knights), Glenton Stuurman (Warriors), Jacques Snyman (Knights).

- Compiled by Sport24 staff

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