FILE - Knights captain Pite van Biljon. Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

KIMBERLEY – Knights coach Alan Kruger says his team are raring to go ahead of their four-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 edition, 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 promising 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 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," he said, referring to Andries Gous and Keegan Petersen.

The Warriors, meanwhile, have roped in Rudi Second from the Knights and also boast some of the most exciting prospects in the country in Sinethemba Qeshile, Lutho Sipamla and Matthew Breetzke.

Coach Rivash Gobind says his team are just as anxious about getting the new campaign underway and he will want to end his career with the Warriors on a high note, having just accepted a job with the management team of the Afghanistan national side.
 
He will only be with the Warriors until the end of October.

“It’s always a nice time of the year to get excited. The guys have worked really hard in the winter and they are now chomping at the bit to get out there,” 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." 

Knights squad: Grant Mokoena, Raynard van Tonder, Keegan Petersen, Pite van Biljon (capt), 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 (capt), Sinethemba Qeshile, Gihahn Cloete, Yaseen Vallie, Lutho Sipamla, Jade de Klerk, Glenton Stuurman, Onke Nyaku, Eddie Moore, Rudi Second, Sithembile Langa.

African News Agency (ANA)