JOHANNESBURG – Heinrich Klaasen’s journey from the sickbed to the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, where he will captain South Africa’s T20 team, is a cautionary tale that will undoubtedly give teammates perspective after a difficult week for South African cricket on and off the field.
Klaasen tested positive for Covid-19 while part of the Proteas squad that faced England late last year. “ It’s been a tough two months since I tested positive on December 3. Over the first 16 to 17 days I couldn’t really do anything. I was very sick,” he admitted.
The 29 year old, who played the first two games of that three match series, revealed that he struggled to complete even basic exercises.
“The problems really came when I tried to start training because I really couldn’t do that properly, I could barely run 20 to 30 metres or try to do anything for a few minutes because my heart rate was just too high,” said Klaasen.
“There’s protocols that I had to follow to build my workloads up, but I couldn’t even stick with that programme, which was a very simple one. I was supposed to exercise for 10 to 15 minutes and walk about 200 meters but I couldn’t do that. So it took me a long time, to get my heart rate under control, just to allow me to exercise a little bit, to get to that initial stage of fitness,” he said.
“Mentally it was terrible to be at home for two months and not be able to do anything… (when I started to recover) I did have a week in the bush, to get away from everything to refresh my mind.”
Although Klaasen has not played any official match since that second T20 International against England in Paarl on November 29, he said he’d put in the hard yards with his franchise team, the Titans, to get him up to speed for the tour to Pakistan.
“I’ve been able to train really hard the last few weeks with (Titans head coach) Mandla Mashimbyi. I’m fit, I’m safe, I’m on track and so I can at least play cricket again,” said Klaasen.
South Africa face Pakistan in the first three T20 Internationals on Thursday.