Knights coach Alan Kruger says his team are raring to go ahead of their 4-Day Domestic Series opener against the Warriors at the Diamond Oval in Kimberley on Monday.
After a long off-season, the six South African teams are all ready to go for 2019-20, with the Central franchise especially eager to start and improve on what was a modest previous season where they ended fourth.
‘Everyone is very psyched up for the new season,’ Kruger said. ‘We had a very good off-season and with the additions of some of the youngsters to our squad, it’s really an exciting time to be part of Knights cricket.
‘We last won the trophy in 2016 and we want to try and do that again this year for sure.’
The Knights have made some interesting additions to their squad for the new term, with two especially exciting signings in the form of wicketkeeper-batsman Wandile Makwetu and fast bowler Marco Jansen. They join a squad entrenched with youth, making for an exciting season ahead.
‘Our bowling is looking good, especially with the addition now of Marco Jansen, after his excellent off-season,’ Kruger explained. ‘So, there’s good youth in our set-up mixed with the likes of some experience batters now, who are also young, but have added some mileage to their legs last season, the likes of Andries Gous and Keegan Petersen.
‘We also have Pite van Biljon as a senior player and, if these guys can replicate what they did last year, I’m going to also be happy from a batting point of view.
‘I think last season we were the top-scoring team in the competition, but the runs came at the wrong time. This year my challenge to the guys is to do it from the word go and to go on and set up games. If we can do that right, we will definitely be competing.’
The Warriors, meanwhile, have roped in Rudi Second from the Knights and they too boast some of the most exciting prospects in the country – among those profiles are Sinethemba Qeshile, Lutho Sipamla and Matthew Breetzke.
Their coach, Rivash Gobind, says his team is equally anxious about getting the new campaign underway.
‘It’s always a nice time of the year, the first week of cricket, the guys have worked really hard in the winter and the guys are now champing at the bit to get out there, to get the sun on their backs and just put in some performances,’ he said.
Gobind, whose side ended third on the log last year, also rated the Knights team for the upcoming season, adding: ‘They’ve got a pretty good squad assembled there. It’s going to be tough away from home.
‘We didn’t put in one of our best performances there last year, so we’ll be looking to rectify that.’
Knights squad: Grant Mokoena, Raynard van Tonder, Keegan Petersen, Pite van Biljon (c), Patrick Kruger, Shaun von Berg, Gerald Coetzee, Marco Jansen, Tshepo Ntuli, Ottneil Baartman, Mbulelo Budaza, Luvuyo Adam, Andries Gous.
Warriors squad: Matthew Breetzke, Andrew Birch, Jon-Jon Smuts (c), Sinethemba Qeshile, Gihahn Cloete, Yaseen Vallie, Lutho Sipamla, Jade de Klerk, Glenton Stuurman, Onke Nyaku, Eddie Moore, Rudi Second, Sithembile Langa.
Photo: Gallo Images