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Pite van Biljon: When Allan Donald speaks, we listen

Stalwart Knights batsman Pite van Biljon believes he is
fit and raring to go following one of the strangest off-seasons after Covid-19
struck and he had to undergo shoulder surgery as well. 

But the 34-year-old is back, fitter than ever, and looking
forward to the gun being set off on Monday morning when the 2020/21 season
officially gets going in the form of the 4-Day Domestic Series. 

“It has been a very different few months compared to what we
are used to,” he said.

“I started about three months ago and had my own programme
because of the shoulder op.

“Everyone has obviously done a lot of conditioning because
you could only train in your groups of two or three when we first started. The
guys are looking really fit now, most have broken all their records as expected
because we had more fitness focus than cricket.

“All of us are in excellent condition, there are a few
obvious niggles in between, a few sore bodies as well, because no amount of
fitness can prepare you for four days of cricket, standing for 100 overs in the
sun. But it’s all good and we’re raring to go.” 

Van Biljon and his team will have some new and big
personalities around them this season, starting with a new head coach in the
dugout – a man that needs little introduction. 

Legendary fast bowler Allan Donald, a son of cricket in the
region having played his entire career there, has taken the reins, with big
things expected. 

“AD as coach, he’s been here all his life,” Van Biljon says.

“He knows our system, our people, our brand and just everything about cricket
in the region, he knows it inside out. 

“Obviously for him to be with us, and he’s a Hall of Famer,
so when he speaks in the changeroom, everyone is on the edge of their seats
listening. The respect we have for the guy and the respect he has for the brand
and the respect he creates is massive. We definitely needed a coach like that. 

“But not taking away anything from JP (Triegaardt, his
assistant coach), who is a Kimberley guy through and through. He is also a guy
who knows our system and our players, knows the brand and the conditions, so
between them we’re very lucky to have two of the best coaches in the country
going around at the moment.”

There are also some big new arrivals at the Central
Franchise, none bigger than the signing of former Proteas batsman Farhaan
Behardien.

“We’re really pleased to have Farhaan Behardien in our squad
for the season. He’ll be another massive player for us, a senior player, a
great batsman and I’m sure the whole squad will feed off his knowledge. He’s a
great guy to have in the team as well. 

“So the excitement is building and it’s really getting close
now. It’s been a good old slog the pre-season. We’ve played a couple of warm up
games in the last few weeks. Some of the guys are looking really good. We’ve
got some exciting youngsters and we also have some seriously experienced
players, Fudgie adding to that.” 

The Knights begin the season with a clash against the
Warriors in Bloemfontein.

Van Biljon added: “It will be important to start well and
we’ll be looking for consistency. No stone has been left unturned and we look
forward to enjoying a successful season. We’re really looking forward to a big
season for the Knights.”

– CSA media

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