The Titans began the four-day competition in much better fashion than previous campaigns, dominating the opening-round match against the Hollywoodbets Dolphins at Centurion, before the visitors produced a superbly-defiant last-day batting performance to force the draw.
But Klaasen said the Titans are determined to ensure they go one better against their neighbours this weekend and secure outright victory.
“The team definitely feels like we let one slip last week and we want to be a bit more consistent with the ball, we bowled a few too many shorter lengths against the Dolphins, so that’s something to improve on against the Lions,” Klaasen said.
With the Proteas being back in action and a well-deserved call-up for Aiden Markram, who captained the Titans last week, Klaasen, who was absent himself as he was playing for the SA Invitation XI against the touring Bangladesh, will be leading a team that could have half-a-dozen changes.
Opening batsmen Dean Elgar and Markram are both on national duty, opening up space for Heino Kuhn to return from injury and Andrea Agathegelou to make his Titans four-day debut. Faf du Plessis is off to captain the Proteas, along with Quinton de Kock, the wicketkeeper/batsman, and Morné Morkel will no doubt be playing a key role with the ball for the South Africans.
Meanwhile, Tabraiz Shamsi has joined the Warriors on a one-match loan, against the WBS Cape Cobras at St George's Park.
But such is the depth in the Titans squad that the vacancies have in some ways created more options for the team. Depending on which way they decide to go, the Titans could field five specialist bowlers with ace leg-spinner Shaun von Berg, back after playing under Klaasen in the SA Invitation side, and one of Eldred Hawken, Migael Pretorius or Corbin Bosch joining last week’s pace trio of Malusi Siboto, Rowan Richards and Alfred Mothoa.
If Jonathan Vandiar comes into the starting XI, then the Titans could play seven frontline batsmen, with three seamers, Von Berg and the part-time spin of Henry Davids.
“There’ve been a couple of new, young guys drafted into the squad, so we’ll have to look at the pitch and decide which attack suits conditions best,” said Klaasen.
Klaasen is yet another product of the University of Pretoria side and the forceful middle-order batsman spent much of his time with the four-time Momentum National Club Championship winners under the captaincy of Markram and Theunis de Bruyn, who have each moved on to bigger things and leadership roles in senior franchise cricket.
But the leadership ability of the Pretoria-born, Menlopark-educated Klaasen has always been apparent and his turn to take over the Titans’ reins has now come.
“I do enjoy captaincy and it was good experience for me leading the national academy side in Sri Lanka in 2015. Each of the captains I’ve played under have taught me different things about leadership,” Klaasen said.
Multiply Titans squad to face bizhub Highveld Lions (from): Heino Kuhn, Andrea Agathegelou, Henry Davids, Jonathan Vandiar, Tony de Zorzi, Farhaan Behardien, Heinrich Klaasen, Shaun von Berg, Malusi Siboto, Rowan Richards, Alfred Mothoa, Migael Pretorius, Corbin Bosch, Eldred Hawken.