South Africa’s Heinrich Klaasen confessed to playing “old school tricks” and stalling for time during his side’s series-levelling defeat against England.
England were well on the way to defeating the Proteas during Friday’s second one-day international when Klaasen, who was batting alongside Dwaine Pretorius, decided to run down the clock in the hope that the light drizzle which had started to fall at Emirates Old Trafford turned into a heavier downpour.
A minimum of 20 overs per innings are required in ODI cricket to constitute a completed match and, with 11 gone during the Proteas’ doomed chase, Klaasen initiated a break in play as he complained about a small patch of white at the bottom of the sight screen at the Brian Statham End.
England – who needed the result to go 1-1 heading into Sunday’s decider at Headingley – were visibly wound up by the tactic, which appeared to be little more than opportunism. The gambit was ultimately unsuccessful, with the rain easing off and England eventually skittling their opponents for 83 to seal a 118-run victory.
And Klaasen made no bones about his gamesmanship.
“It was zero per cent (because) of the ball disappearing into the sightscreen,” he said with a grin.
“It was just a little bit of old school tricks to see if I just change the momentum and slow the game down a little bit.
“The English boys didn’t like it. I knew it was going to come so it’s nothing new to me. But for me, in that situation, we weren’t in a great position so it was just to upset the rhythm of the game a little, just see what happens. The rain came down a little bit harder… hopefully the umpires could have taken us off.”
It was just a little bit of old school tricks to see if I just change the momentum and slow the game down a little bitHeinrich Klaasen
Asked about the heat he received in the middle, where the likes of England captain Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow made no secret of their annoyance, Klaasen was unmoved.
“It frustrated a lot of their guys so the trick worked a little bit. Stuff like that doesn’t bother me at all, it’s fun and games,” he said.
“Hopefully we can have a cool drink or a beer after the next game and be good mates. If they can keep it on the field, it’s easy for me to keep it on the field. I don’t have any issues with what they say, what they call me, what they do to me. But let’s keep that on the field.”