Indian Premier League franchise Rajaasthan Royals have identified big-hitting South African wicketkeeper-batsman Heinrich Klaasen as the banned Steve Smith’s replacement, reported the Times of India on Friday.
With a week left before the start of the IPL, the Royals are left to fill in the void left by Smith, who, along with David Warner, was handed a one-year ban by Cricket Australia following the ball-tampering scandal that unfolded against South Africa in Cape Town last week.
The BCCI had also subsequently barred the Australian duo from participating in the upcoming IPL season. India batsman Ajinkya Rahane was named as Smith’s replacement as the Rajasthan captain.
Royals’ head of cricket Zubin Bharucha, who submitted the request to the BCCI, said that his side were looking for a player who could play the turning ball well. “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,” Bharucha told the newspaper.
Klaasen was responsible for the two wins that the Proteas recorded during the limited-overs series against India, where wrist-spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal were dominated.
“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 [Kuldeep and Chahal] was just amazing,” Bharucha added.
It is also reported that Sunrisers Hyderabad are looking at hard-hitting Sri Lankan batsman Kusal Perera as Warner’s replacement. The 2016 title winners on Thursday announced New Zealand’s Kane Williamson as their new skipper.