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CWC 2023 | South Africa player Heinrich Klaasen post-match press conference

 

 

Heinrich-Klaasen-21-10-23

Heinrich Klassen

Yeah, we've been not just that, we've been playing in India for the last five years quite often, so we're quite used to the conditions and we had the training facilities over the last year has been fantastic, so we had a couple of good hits out there. That's actually the first time that I've trained here as well. I've only played here one game. So, the more the quality of the training facilities help to understand the dimensions of the ground and how the wicket will really play.

[Reporter:]

You looked quite knackered there at the end. Where do you go? How deep do you need to dig in those situations? And where does that come from, that energy to just push on?

Heinrich Klassen

Yeah, I had to dig really, really deep there. I didn't have any energy left.

But, no, on a serious note, I've got family that's upstairs. So, obviously, chatting to them to help me through a little bit of those moments. And obviously it's an honour for us to play for our country. And Marco also played a big part of that. He told me today that he's got me and that I'm not allowed to walk off the field if I don't score 100. And I told him, but I can't run and he said, it's fine, just give me 100% every time you face the ball.

Like I said, it's still a privilege to play for our country and especially in a moment like this, after a bad loss against the Netherlands, you got to dig deep for your country as well. So yeah, I've worked my whole life for it, so it's a great moment.

[Reporter:]

Just on your partnership with Marco as well, just how chuffed were you when you think about it now in the aftermath with how well you actually navigated that initial phase of your partnership tactically? Because you're in a decent position but you also got 13 overs left, you're not sure are you going to go full out are you going to consolidate - just how chuffed were you about the maturity he showed and just how you guys went about your partnership?

Heinrich Klassen

Yes, we were about two overs myself and Jansen - two overs out before we would have pulled the trigger anyways and then obviously the back-to-back wickets that we've lost kept him in the game and then Marco has been working extremely hard on his batting and he's taking a lot of pride in his death hitting as well. He's been disappointed on a couple of the innings that he didn't really pull through. So, I'm so chuffed and happy for him that the way he executed today and his intensity was a little bit low when we started off but that wasn't any issue for us because we just needed to rebuild for four or five overs and I told him if we just hang on, we've got seven overs off of breaking them and the way he striked the ball today and like I said he told me he's got me today and that's the best I've seen him hit a cricket ball in a very long time.

[Reporter:]

Two different questions, one is three centuries in this year, how special has it been in terms of making runs?

Where does this innings particularly rank in your number of centuries that you have got so far?

And second question is, how much do you think has South Africa, through its performances in the World Cup so far, has been able to surprise their opponents with the way you have played cricket? Because today's win was just fantastic.

Heinrich Klassen

Yeah, it ranks up to one of my better hundreds purely on the conditions that was out there. I really had to dig deep mentally. Physically I was not in a good space but mentally I had to dig very deep there. Our World Cup performances, everyone obviously has got their tag over us but we've played some good cricket in the World Cup. We've been unlucky and obviously we didn't execute on certain games. But if you go look at our games that we've played, we've played some very, very good cricket in World Cup. So, it's not a surprise that we're playing good cricket. We've been playing, especially this group has been playing good cricket for the last three years now. And we've been maturing nicely over the last three years. And it's our time to really try to make a big statement for the world that South Africans are very good under pressure. We've done it before, and it's unfortunate that there wasn't as much luck, because you need some luck as well.

[Reporter:]

A lot of people will never know what it's like to bat in that situation, with the heat, the pressure, the crowd, etc. Can you describe it to them, like what were you actually going through in those moments?

Heinrich Klassen

It's like just breathing in hot air and every time you try to run it's just sapping more and more energy and then at the end of the day your body just doesn't want to work with you anymore. So, it's just like almost running in a sauna for the for the whole innings which is what we obviously prep for and we’re used to these conditions but it still takes a lot out of the body.

[Reporter:]

Heinrich, I think with your celebration you were probably too tired to get to the other end of the pitch before you did. So, you did it in Mark Wood's face, but clearly you realised it was maybe not the right thing. What did you say to him?

Heinrich Klassen

I didn't say anything to him. I did go and apologise immediately and after the game. He did hit me twice on the foot, which is hurting quite a bit. And it's just pure emotion. And yeah, once again, I'm sorry for him and to the English boys but it's pure emotion that just came out and sometimes it's difficult to control.

But I did apologize straight away and spoke to him after the game and hopefully from my side everything is sorted.

[Reporter:]

I don't know how well you remember the press conference you gave after the England game in Kimberley when we'd never heard - at least I had never heard a South African player speak so honestly about selection and you said they want us to play brave cricket and when we fail, they drop us.

As much as you've done on the field, because that has led to a massive change I think in approach to selection and consistency. Do you remember that moment very well? Did it feel like you were being brave at the time?

Heinrich Klassen

Definitely. I know Lucy gave me gears about that answer, but it was a time that we had to be honest. And to be fair, since then and just a little bit before that, the selection has been quite consistent and you can see it in the way the boys are playing. And the same group of guys are still here now after a couple of years. So obviously the consistency was there.

It was more a message to the coaches to back us when we do want to play brave cricket. We had some serious conversations about it and everything is sorted. The boys are on board and the coaches are on board. That's why we're playing, I believe, good cricket at this moment.

[Reporter:]

After the low of the Netherlands and now today the high, what can this win do to South Africa and its World Cup campaign?

Heinrich Klassen

Yes, it was a big low for us but it didn't mean that we're a bad team or after one bad performance that we're not playing good cricket. We've been playing good cricket like I said for the last couple of years now and that's exactly the chats that's been around.

All the chats after the Netherlands game has been extremely positive. We had one or two hard conversations as a group, but our chats has been positive and keep reminding the boys to play aggressive and positive cricket. And it showed today that in a pressure and tough conditions, especially in the heat, that the boys are willing to take the game on. Reeza got a late call, I think it was about 10 minutes before, 5 minutes before the coin toss that Temba is down. And to perform like that, and the couple of the shots that he played under pressure shows where we are as a group as a South African cricket group.

[Reporter:]

To maintain this form and go into the next five matches and be on top in the top four for the semifinals, how easy or difficult will it be?

Heinrich Klassen

I think the boys are in fantastic form and like you can see over the whole competition that it's not every time the same person So we rely a lot on each other. A lot of conversations go in the back room. So, we just rely on each other, we trust each other and we've got each other's back at this moment.

So, I think that's why we're good and why we can keep going because it's every time someone else stepping up to the plate.

Cricket, CWC 2023

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