IPL 2018: Rajasthan Royals to sign Heinrich Klaasen as Steve Smith's replacement

South Africa v India - 5th Momentum ODI
Klaasen had a fantastic ODI series against India

After skipper Steve Smith was banned from playing in the 2018 IPL due to his involvement in the recent ball-tampering scandal, Rajasthan Royals have decided to sign South African wicketkeeper-batsman Heinrich Klaasen as the replacement for the Aussie. The franchise has sent a request to the BCCI for approving the Protea batsman as a replacement player.

This might come as a surprise to many but Rajasthan Royals' head of cricket, Zubin Bharucha is absolutely convinced that the South African is the man they wanted to rope in as a replacement.

He also admitted that the likes of Joe Root and Hashim Amla were considered but their decision to go in with the Titans' wicketkeeper-batsman is because the team management didn't want to have two similar players in the squad when Smith returns and Klaasen was picked keeping the future in mind.

"Our aim was to get someone who can play spin well because we are pretty sure that spinners will have a big role to play during the IPL. Klaasen is an amazing player of spin. And he has a vast array of shots, which tempted us to go for him. He plays the reverse sweep very well, something that will be quite useful in the IPL. His strategy against them was just amazing. Smith will be back with us next year and we did not want to end up with two similar players. Our idea was to build the team keeping three years in mind. Even after Smith is back, Klaasen will be very useful for us," Bharucha told TOI.

When Klaasen was approached, he was surprised and immediately gave his nod to play in the IPL. He was the only batsman who managed to pick the Indian wrist spinners in the limited-overs series between the two teams earlier this year. In spite of his abilities to keep wickets, Klaasen was roped in as a specialist batsman and the wicketkeeping duties will be taken care of Sanju Samson and Jos Buttler.

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Edited by Vignesh Ananthasubramanian
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