Town - Spare a thought for Heinrich
Given the first two ODIs against
Pakistan and a platform to stake a claim for a World Cup spot later this year,
the wicketkeeper/batsman did not get to the crease in the first ODI in Port Elizabeth
and was out for a first ball duck in the second in Durban on Tuesday
It couldn't have gone worse for
him, and with Quinton de Kock expected to return for the remainder of the
series, Klaasen can no longer be guaranteed of a game.
His World Cup charge may very
well be nearing its end, and much of that has to do with the form of Rassie van der Dussen.
Where Klaasen has stuttered over
the last year for an ODI average of 22.81 in 13 innings, Van
der Dussen has hit the ground running.
Debuting with 93 (101) on
Saturday and then winning the 2nd ODI with a sublime 80* (123) on Tuesday,
Van der Dussen is absolutely smashing the World Cup door down.
Form aside, it is the fact that
he gives South Africa an option at No 3 that is perhaps most pleasing.
Klaasen has batted at No 4, No 5
and No 6 in his short ODI career so far, but not at No 3 in the only position
of real uncertainty in the Proteas top order currently.
Hashim Amla and De Kock will open
the batting in England, skipper Faf du Plessis will come in at No 4 while JP
Duminy and David Miller are expected to bat at No 5 and No 6,
Presuming that an allrounder is
backed at No 7, that leaves the No 3 slot available and Klaasen just doesn't
seem anywhere near the top of the pecking order right now.
Instead, Van der Dussen, Reeza
Hendricks and Aiden Markram are engaged in that battle.
Hendricks is getting game time at
the top of the order in De Kock's absence, but he has failed to kick on from
the century he scored on debut against Sri Lanka back in August last year,
going past 50 just once since then in 10
Markram, too, has not capitalised
on his opportunities when they have come around, and with just eight ODIs left
between now and the World Cup, there may not be many more.
Van der Dussen is peaking at
precisely the right time.
He may be in the infancy of his
international career, but at 29 Van der Dussen has vast experience at
provincial level and has played in high-pressure situations numerous
He looks a player who understands
his game incredibly well, and he proved on Tuesday night by playing the
Van der Dussen batted for nearly
three hours and was the cool head needed when wickets were tumbling around
It was a mature innings and one
that will go a long way towards getting him on the plane to the World
Finishing as the leading
run-scorer in the Mzansi Super League (MSL) last year, Van der Dussen showed in
that tournament that he also possesses the muscle and shot-making to score
quickly when he needs to.
versatility, as much as anything, works in his favour.
There is still a long way to go
and there will be many plot twists ahead, but early signs are that Van der
Dussen has the ingredients to be backed in that all-important No 3 role.
These months leading up to a
World Cup can be brutal, as Klaasen is currently finding out first-hand. A
World Cup ticket is surely a long way off for him now.
Rassie, though, has made his
Follow @LloydBurnard on Twitter ...