Mark Butcher Praises Heinrich Klaasen: One of the Best T20 Batsmen in World Cricket | Cricket News

NEW DELHI: Former England batter Mark Butcher has expressed high praise for South African batter Heinrich Klaasen, considering him one of the best T20 batters in world cricket at the moment. Butcher shared his opinion in an exclusive video on the SA20 official website, where he specifically highlighted Klaasen’s exceptional skills in T20 cricket.
Butcher, who is currently in South Africa for commentary duties in the SA20 season two, had the opportunity to witness Klaasen’s remarkable performance during the ICC Cricket World Cup in India.
His explosive innings, particularly his stroke-filled 109 runs off 67 balls, left a lasting impression on Butcher, reinforcing his belief in Klaasen’s prowess in the T20 format.
While Klaasen’s standout performance may have taken place in the 50-overs version of the game during the ICC World Cup, he has been consistently impressive in T20 competitions globally over the past 18 months.
His remarkable contributions extend to the SA20, where he currently holds the distinction of being the leading run-scorer in the competition’s history. Klaasen has amassed 557 runs in 15 innings, maintaining an impressive average of 55.70. His stellar record includes a century and five fifties, solidifying his reputation as a top-performing batsman in the T20 format.
“It is difficult to look past Heinrich Klaasen (as the potential top-run getter in Season 2). He is just on such a great run of form at the moment. He must be one of the best, if not the best T20 batter in world cricket, Butcher said.
Heinrich has been on a monumental T20 run since last year.
Klaasen’s impressive batting performances have spanned various T20 leagues around the world. In the inaugural Major League Cricket (MLC) in the USA last year, he showcased his batting prowess, accumulating 235 runs at an impressive average of 58.75 and a striking strike rate of over 197. This included one century and one fifty, with his highest score being 110*. Klaasen finished as the third-highest run-scorer in the tournament.
In the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023, he played a pivotal role for the Sunrisers Hyderabad, single-handedly carrying the team’s batting. Scoring 448 runs in 12 matches at an average of 49.77 and an exceptional strike rate of 177.07, he notched up one century and two fifties, finishing as his side’s leading run-scorer.
During the Men’s Hundred 2023, Klaasen contributed with the bat, accumulating 189 runs in seven matches at an average of 31.50 and a formidable strike rate of 178.30. His best score in the tournament was 60, and he ranked as the fourth-highest run-scorer.
In the inaugural SA20 in South Africa last year, playing for Durban Super Giants (DSG), he continued his impressive run, scoring 363 runs in nine innings at an average of 60.50 and a striking strike rate of above 164. This included a century and three fifties, with his highest score being 104*. Klaasen concluded the tournament as the fourth-highest run-scorer. In the ongoing second season, he is currently the fourth-highest run-scorer with 194 runs in five matches at an average of 48.50, featuring two fifties and a striking strike rate of over 190.
Talking about SA20, Butcher commended the tournament’s quality and popularity, comparing it favourably to the Indian Premier League. He said “I think the SA20 is right up there. The IPL stands on its own and everyone is trying to catch up to it. But the SA20 in only its second year is turning out to be a massive draw for players around the world. And I think that gives you an idea of the high quality of the tournament.”
Butcher also had huge admiration for his English compatriot Will Jacks, who struck the fastest century in the history of the competition for Pretoria Capitals against Durban’s Super Giants at Centurion on Thursday evening. “We just watched Will Jacks make an unbelievable 100 off just 40 balls. He plays for my old club Surrey. It is always nice to see those guys do well,” he said.
Having experienced the tournament live for the first time, Butcher also acclaimed the impressive concentration of talent due to the involvement of only six teams. He commended the SA20’s efforts in promoting cricket in the country, emphasizing the importance of local support in creating a vibrant atmosphere.
“The fact that there are only six teams in it, such a high concentration of talent, means that every game is high quality. An amazing job has also been done in promoting it, and making sure that people in South Africa are getting behind their local side to turn up in numbers for live games. That’s what it is all about. The entertainment only comes when there are people on the ground,” he said.
He further added “It is my first experience live. It has been fantastic. I watched it from the UK last year, it looked like the party was pretty good. The cricket was epic. There are six really good players with excellent players from around the world.”
(With ANI inputs)

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