Rajasthan Royals rope in Klaasen for Smith

Rajasthan Royals rope in Klaasen for Smith

The South African T20 batsman Heinrich Klaasen has joined the Rajasthan Royals squad as the replacement for Steve Smith.

Smith, who was appointed the Royals captain, has been suspended from this season of Indian Premier League following his role in the ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town.

"We are delighted to have Klaasen on board. His hard-hitting ability with plenty of options against spin makes him dangerous through the middle of an innings. What struck us about Klaasen other than his ability to strike a ball was his inherent hunger to make every opportunity count. This is a good space to be in as a cricketer and batsman. We look forward to working with Klaasen to ensure he has a great career in the IPL" said Zubin Bharucha, Head of Cricket, Rajasthan Royals

The Pretoria-born batsman made his first-class debut for Northerns in the 2012-13 season, averaging 42.58 in the provincial three-day cup. Klaasen averaged 52.10 in the following summer and 65.25 in the one after that. He finally broke through to franchise cricket in the 2016-17 season. The right-handed batsman earned his maiden Test call-up last year in February after scoring 635 runs at an average of 48.84, including a season-best 195 in the four-day domestic series.

"I am thankful to the Rajasthan Royals for giving me this opportunity and making me part of the squad. It would be my first IPL and in fact, my first ever visit to India so I am really excited to be teaming up and sharing the dressing room with some great names," said Klaasen.

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