Cape Town - The Knights will begin life after Nicky Boje with a
difficult home clash against champions the Titans when the 4-Day Franchise Series resumes in Bloemfontein from Wednesday.
LOG: Latest standings in the 4-Day Franchise Series
The former Proteas spinner ended his three-year stint with
the union during the Mzansi Super League break with assistant Alan Kruger
stepping in until the end of the season.
The Central Franchise are currently third in the competition
standings, with their 71.56 points leaving them just over 30 behind leaders, the Cape Cobras (102.86).
The premier first-class competition had broken at the
halfway stage for the Twenty20 campaign and there is another two-week gap
coming up in the calendar for the Christmas and New Year period.
There was no MSL T20 cricket in the Free State -
Bloemfontein did not have a team - but Kruger says that may have been a good
thing, adding that they were ready for the red-ball resumption. “Most of our
guys have been playing provincial cricket and with distinction too,” he said.
“I’m not too concerned going into this game in terms of our workload and that
sort of stuff.
“In fact, it may have been a blessing that only a few of our
guys were away playing in the T20 competition.
“Coming to this weekend, the guys are in a good space. It
will all boil down to who wants it more, so we look forward to it.”
Rain has hampered preparation ahead of the Mangaung Oval
clash, but the coach says they have made the most of their indoor facilities,
adding that the Knights will be ready for what is expected to be a Proteas-laden Titans squad.
“We know they’re coming with a star-studded team, but we’ll
be looking inhouse at our own processes and looking at how we can improve on
our record of two wins, two losses and the one draw,” Kruger stated.
For the reigning champion Titans, who have 58.54 points, the
season has not gone at all according to plan.
They are one of just two winless sides in the four-day game,
the other being basement side the Dolphins, and trail the Cobras
by nearly 50 points.
Assistant coach Mandla Mashimbyi feels that only a win will
do for Mark Boucher’s side as they look to get their season back on track.
“I think every game from here on is very important,” he said.
“What we’re in control of now is what’s coming and what we’re going to do from
tomorrow. It’s a nice opportunity for us to get back into the pack and to give
ourselves a chance.
“It’s very important that we play to the level that we want
to play. We have our Proteas available as well for this game. That will help
“But we want to be in the right midframe and play to our
potential. There’s no wishy-washy mindset with regards to that. We’re going out
there to win.”
Grant Mokoena, Keegan
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Budaza, Zakhele Qwabe, Raynard van Tonder
Farhaan Behardien, Corbin Bosch,
Junior Dala, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Heinrich Klaasen (captain), Aiden
Markram, Tshepo Moreki, Itumeleng Moseki, Chris Morris, Alfred Mothoa, Tabraiz
Shamsi, Jonathan Vandiar