Heinrich Klassen.
Heinrich Klassen. Image Credit: X

The South Africa wicket-keeper batter, Heinrich Klassen was in tremendous touch during the recently finished Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024, as he nailed the bowlers in all corners of the ground with his sheer ability and brutal power.

Playing for the Sunrisers Hyderabad, Klassen was a vital member of the franchise, in giving them the firepower, against both the pacers and the spinners, coming during the middle overs of the innings.

For the last two seasons of the IPL and other 20-over leagues around the globe, Heinrich Klassen has made his name, as the ‘six-hitter’, as the South Africa batter has displayed how to release pressure in a blink of an eye, with successive big shots.

‘The grounds are getting smaller’ – Heinrich Klassen

The Pretoria batter finished the 17th season of the competition, with 479 runs in 15 innings, at an average of 39.91, and a strike rate of nearly 171, with four half-centuries, and a best score of unbeaten 80-runs, as he smashed 38-sixes in that competition.

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When it comes to performing for the South Africa team in the shortest format of the game, Heinrich Klassen has smocked 722 runs in 39 innings, at an average of 22.56, and a strike rate of 147.64, shouldering on four half-centuries, and a best score of 81.

While his record in T20s are nothing short of exceptional, as the 32-year-old has generated power, for his 4459 T20 runs in 180 innings, at an average of 32.78 and a strike rate of around 152.34, with the help of 28 fifties and two centuries.

During a recent chat with the ESPN Cricket Monthly, the Protea batter reflected how the former SA captain Faf Du Plessis words of ‘guys care only those who hit sixes’ changed the way he used to approach towards the game.

He reckoned that he practiced a lot of swings with the bat to drill those sixes, and he has become a sort of muscle memory for him in recent times.

‘The funny thing is, I recently asked Faf [du Plessis] how he became so consistent and successful in the IPL. He said the owners only care about guys that hit sixes and can win you games. It has started getting more and more about the prep we do. I do a lot of [bat] swing drills to make sure your swing is good and understand what your swing requires,” Heinrich Klassen expressed during the session with ESPN Cricket Monthly.

He also sheds light on how these things have before a mental thing, where one fights hard to nail those sixes from the very first ball.

‘Sometimes it becomes a mental game more than anything else because people want to see you hit sixes, so you fight that urge to hit sixes from ball one,” Veteran remarked.

In the last 50-over World Cup in India, he was in special touch to blast 373 runs in 10 innings at a strike rate of 133.21, with 19 sixes in the tournament.

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Klassen also feels that the Indian grounds have been quite small and that makes it little easy to nail those sixes.

‘These days the grounds are not really big unless you play in Australia. Some of the UK fields are a decent hit. In India, I feel like all the grounds are relatively short. The [boundaries] start at 60 metres and go to 75. So, yeah, the grounds are getting smaller. Hopefully, it stays like that, makes hitting sixes a little bit easier (smiles),” Wicket-keeper batter Heinrich Klassen observed.

Heinrich Klassen’s role going into the T20 World Cup will be quite vital, to offer South Africa the power to nail those big sixes, against both pace and spin, especially coming during the middle overs.