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‘Smart cricket’ will tame Nassau pitch, says Klaasen

So far, Anrich Nortje has been the only voice approving Nassau County’s speech.  Uganda’s Frank Nsubuga unseated the South African from that position by claiming 2/4 against Papua New Guinea in Providence on Thursday.
“There is more on the field for the players and I don’t see anything wrong with that,” Nortje said at a news conference after Monday’s game.

For Nortje it is easy to say. He didn’t have to hit on the surface. Heinrich Klaasen was not so lucky. “I think the field has been too much on the pitchers’ side, but that’s part of the game,” Klaasen said at a news conference Thursday. It’s about getting the balance right.

Now players are getting conditions in their favour. It won’t always be a 200 pitch, and you have to play smarter cricket to get over the line. We don’t You worry if the players have something that makes cricket good and entertaining, and you have to use your cricket brain. It’s about striking the right balance. “It shouldn’t be too flat or too player-friendly.”

Erratic bounce has been the main complaint and slow outfields are not popular. Starting to build a 34,000-seat modular stadium in the dead of winter and completing it in 100 days (in time for it to feature in eight matches in the Men’s T20 World Cup) was no easy feat. But the surfaces, which were grown in Australia, finished in Florida and placed in the middle of a 930-acre Eisenhower Park site, have taken the shine off what was. The results of the only preparation match played in Nassau before Monday did not set off alarm bells. India scored 182/5 and restricted Bangladesh to a reply of 122/9, which is not a scandal considering the quality of the Indian attack.

But the variable bounce was already evident, and on Monday the Lankans were bowled out for their record low 77. South Africa needed 16.2 overs to overcome the small target. The match was played on a strip at the edge of the four-field table. The Irish were dismissed for 96 and India won in 12.2 overs. Rohit was hit on the bicep and had to retire injured and Rishabh Pant was hit on the elbow, but he carried on. India has reportedly decided not to file an official complaint.
The focus is on Nassau because the international cricket match between India and Pakistan will be held there on Sunday.  Eight of the top 10 totals achieved in the 17 editions of the competition were scored in 2024. An average of 17.03 sixes were hit per game, more than in any other year. Klaasen did his part to make that happen, hitting 38 sixes to finish second on that list with Virat Kohli behind Abhishek Sharma’s 42.  On Monday, Klaasen helped lead South Africa to victory with an unbeaten 19 from 22; a strike rate of 86.36.  can just dig in and hit the limits,” Klaasen said.

Whether that lesson has been learned will be seen on Saturday, when South Africa returns to Nassau to play the Netherlands, who beat them in the 2022 T20 World Cup and in last year’s ODI version. Nortje may need to be in top shape to stop the trend.