Klaasen, who burst onto the international scene against India, made some startling contributions with the bat for South Africa in the limited-overs component of the visit by India, including a match-winning 69 on his home ground, Supersport Park Centurion. That innings, against some of India's best spinners, was a display of his full-range of skills, and no doubt played a part in him being recruited at the 11th hour.
Klaasen replaces disgraced Australian star Smith, who is starting a 12-month ban for his involvement in the ball-tampering scandal that has rocked Australian cricket. He was set to be the captain of the Rajasthan Royals, but the IPL confirmed that he and David Warner would be ineligible to play in the competition.
Klaasen’s destructive hitting, especially in the latter stages of the innings, caught the eye of the visiting Indian teams, and he was considered unlucky by some to not have had more international opportunities this summer.
The versatile 26 year-old will give the Rajasthan franchise plenty of options, as he can keep wicket, but also dabble in some part-time spin if required. But his primary role will surely be with bat in hand, as he looks to continue his sensational rise through the ranks.
Speaking to the Rajasthan Royal website, Klaasen said: "I am really thankful for the opportunity. This will be my first time going to India, so I am really excited to join up with some great names in the changeroom.
"I am really looking forward to this tournament and I am really hoping to make a big impact."