Knights target incident-free T20 Challenge
Disruptions and a lack of continuity may have been the order of the season for the Chevrolet Knights so far this term, but coach Sarel Cilliers is keeping his chin up ahead of the final domestic competition of the campaign, the RAM SLAM T20 Challenge.
The Free Staters have had endless problems associated with them ever since the start of the 2012/13 year when they lost captain Morne van Wyk, who played in the first game but subsequently picked up a shoulder problem.
Fellow top-order batsmen Reeza Hendricks and Rilee Rossouw have also been struck by the injury curse, while they lost Dean Elgar and later Ryan McLaren to the Proteas.
Four different players have won the skipper’s armband and only three players managed at least seven matches in the Sunfoil Series and four played that number in the Momentum One Day Cup.
“It was very hard to get going because of the disruptions,” Cilliers told supersport.com. “We had basically lost our top four batters at one stage and then at another point in time we had people suspended, guys sitting at the national team as 12th man and so there was no continuity.
“The team had to change the team on a weekly basis and we’ve had four captains so far. It’s been an extremely disruptive season with 17 days rained out in total.
“Taking that into account, it’s very difficult”.
Cilliers, whose side ended fifth in the fourth in the four-day and one-day competitions respectively, is confident they can be competitive in the T20 competition, which they launch against the Chevrolet Warriors in Kimberley on Sunday.
“We put a similar emphasis on all three competitions, because it’s important that you compete well from a franchise point of view,” he explained. “This is just another opportunity for players to show again what they can do.
“Hopefully we can do that and put ourselves into a position to challenge. So we’re looking forward to the new competition.”
With Van Wyk out for the rest of the season, Johan van der Wath expected to lead the two-time former T20 champions, who will also have former Proteas Nicky Boje and Loots Bosman available.
They will add to a solid squad, which Cilliers insists has no confidence issues despite their woes over the past five months.
“What’s happened this season is part of life,” he added. “There’s no confidence problem because the guys did get themselves into good positions on many occasions through the season.
“We’ll learn from the lessons and be ready come Sunday.”