The Knights, desperate to go one better in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge and secure some silverware, have brought back West Indian Andre Russell for the campaign which kicks off on Sunday.
The Knights have just undergone a radical change, suddenly losing coach Sarel Cilliers and replacing him with former Proteas left-arm spinner Nicky Boje. So the news that Russell will be returning is welcome news indeed. He played an influential role last year, when the Knights were beaten in the final by the Cape Cobras.
The dynamic West Indian certainly knows how to make an impact: in the 12 matches he played through the season, he scored just 182 runs, at an average of 30.33. But they came at a strike rate of 200, and included 14 fours and 14 sixes. He also equalled the record for the fastest fifty in South African domestic T20 history. He played an important role with the ball, too, taking 13 wickets at 22.53.
Unfortunately, he will not be in action until their match against the Lions at the Mangaung Oval on 5 November, five matches into the campaign.
The Knights will also be boosted by the loan signing of Titans batsman Theunis de Bruyn for the T20 series, and the input of Free State ‘old boy’ Allan Donald as a consultant, as they go looking for a change in fortunes and end a victory drought that goes back to the final edition of the domestic 40-over competition in 2010-11.
But by getting to the final of the Ram Slam last year, they also qualified for the Champions League, only to lose a lucrative income when it was cancelled.
Russell is the third high-profile overseas signing after Kevin Pietersen linked up with the Dolphins for five games and Kieron Pollard rejoined the Cape Cobras.