If you showcase this to world, it's not great selling product: Klaasen on New York pitch

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Bangladesh's Taskin Ahmed, right, celebrates the dismissal of South Africa's Heinrich Klaasen, left, during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Bangladesh and South Africa

Bangladesh's Taskin Ahmed, right, celebrates the dismissal of South Africa's Heinrich Klaasen, left, during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Bangladesh and South Africa

New York: If the ICC wants to market T20 cricket in the USA, the pitch and outfield at the Nassau County Cricket Ground isn't a "great selling product", South Africa's flamboyant batter Heinrich Klaasen said joining the chorus of criticism against the venue.

The new drop-in pitch at the ground located in the Long Islands has been dual-paced with uneven bounce, making batting very difficult. India and South Africa have been able to defend totals as low as 119 and 113 respectively on back-to-back days on this track.

"Obviously, if you have to showcase it to the world and sell it, I don't think it's a great selling product, but for cricket, it's tight competition. It brings the other teams and the higher teams very close to each other," Klaasen, who scored 46 off 44 balls in team's four-run win said at the post-match press conference.

The power-hitter said that all premier batters across teams would love to just get out of New York while the bowlers would love to stay put forever. The ICC has already acknowledged that the pitches here have not played as consistently as was desired.

"I think all the batters are keen to get out of this place, to be fair. The bowlers would love to stay here but - no we've done our job that was the goal to win three out of three here. Obviously, it was a little bit harder than what we thought," he said.

"For us, it's very nerve-wracking, because every game becomes a really big game. There's no easy games for us especially in our group. So, it's still good entertaining cricket. Everyone is on the edge of their seats and any team can beat any team on the down this on this field." Klaasen was a part of the inaugural edition of Major League Cricket last year and when asked if he has enjoyed this ICC project of trying to market cricket in a new city with a temporary stadium, his answer was a mixed one. "Yes and No," he said before elaborately explaining his take.

"I played in Dallas and in North Carolina where I think there's a little bit more cricket there. The wickets (pitches) are better so it's easier to sell cricket in that aspect," he said.

"It's fantastic what they've done with the stadium here and I think as the wicket matures, but obviously I think they're taking it out in two - three days' time so that doesn't help," Klaasen explained.

"The more the wicket matures, the better these conditions will get and I think it will be a better showcase for the people. This wicket is I think, four months old, so there's a lot of maturity that needs to go into the wicket that will produce bigger scores." Klaasen was an integral part of a very successful Sunrisers Hyderabad batting unit which redefined Powerplay in this year's IPL with the help of an Impact Player and flat batting decks. The towering batter said that one month is ancient history now.

"Yeah, it's a big change you see scores there - well it was a month and a half ago we were part of a score that's 270 - 260 so it's well off, but it's part of the game.

"It doesn't look like the Caribbean wickets are too much better. So, we have to play smart cricket and use our cricket brain a little bit more." He feels that once the Super Eight starts in the West Indies, the par-score will be 160 plus.

"Out of us all, the thing on stats that are out of 18 games, it's only been one score above 200. So normally in the Caribbean, it's about 160 as par. If you get to 160-170, you're in a good shot and you have to bowl well.

"So, I reckon that's normally the good scores there, or power scores. Depending where you play, the wickets are very different around the Caribbean."

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