Heinrich Klaasen is looking forward to taking up the reigns as Tshwane Spartans captain in the 2019 Mzansi Super League, saying the number of home grown players gives the squad a big advantage.
The 28-year-old, who recently returned with the Standard Bank Proteas from India where he earned his first Test cap, was made Spartans captain by head coach Mark Boucher.
“I had a conversation with Boucher, he said I got fired from the previous job (as Titans captain), so I can get a chance here. I’m looking forward to this, especially with guys who have heaps of experience around the world,” Klaasen expressed.
Klaasen’s captaincy at the Momentum Multiply Titans wasn’t all bad – he did lead the team to the Four-Day title in 2017/18. His various call-ups to the national team in the year that followed meant he wasn’t always available for them, however, but the 2019 MSL gives him another good chance to underline his leadership credentials.
“I’m quite a relaxed captain,” said Klaasen, who has shone for the Sky Blues not only as a wicket-keeper, but a fine top order batsman in the white-ball formats.
“I try to get everyone’s point of view. Everyone has different ideas, so it’s always been my way.
“I’ve spent a lot of time with Albie Morkel, really picking his brain about the way he captains. I think he’s been one of our best captains in South Africa, the way he sums up the game, handles the pressure, I’ve really learnt a lot from him in the last four seasons.”
Klaasen played under Morkel at the Durban Heat last year, but it was not a successful time for either of them or the Heat as a franchise. Getting drafted by the Spartans sees him return to familiar climes and the fact that there are so many players in the Tshwane squad with such intimate knowledge of SuperSport Park, will help foster team spirit a lot quicker.
“There’s a lot of old Titans players like Roelof van der Merwe and Morné Morkel. The characters and quality of players we have is unbelievable. It’s going to be good fun and hard cricket,” said Klaasen.
In addition AB de Villiers returns, while current Titans players, Lungi Ngidi, Dean Elgar and Tony de Zorzi add a proper ‘homegrown’ feel to the squad and adds to Klaasen’s belief that the team won’t struggle to form a bond.
“There are a few warm-up games, for us to find our feet, to get to know each other, it’s a good and exciting season ahead,” Klaasen concluded.
The Spartans will kick off their campaign on Saturday, November 8, against the Durban Heat at Hollywoodbets Kingsmead. Klaasen will lead the team in their first home match, against the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants on Wednesday, November 13.