The RAM SLAM T20 Challenge is finally here, and both the Chevrolet Knights and the Chevrolet Warriors can’t wait to get stuck in when they meet on Sunday at the De Beers Diamond Oval.
The Chevrolet Knights, who have suffered several injury setbacks during the season, have bolstered their squad with some experienced campaigners and coach Sarel Cilliers is eager to see how his side go after a challenging season.
“We still won't have Morne van Wyk and Reeza Hendricks available, and Dean Elgar and Ryan McLaren will still be involved with the Proteas. But we’ve signed up Loots Bosman, and Nicky Boje will also be available for the whole competition, so we are looking forward to it for sure,” he said.
“We tried our best in the Sunfoil Series and, if it hadn’t been for rain, we could have competed and won a few more games. But the franchise is looking forward to this part of the season, and I think we have a unit that can do very well and hopefully be a success.”
Cilliers said T20 cricket had the ability to change lives overnight, and he hoped that a few of his players would leave a mark on this year’s campaign.
“It’s obviously a big thing. Last year we missed out on the Champions League when we lost the play-off on the last ball of the match. That’s how close we were, and the players know how much their lives can change once they are on that stage. Hopefully a few of them will show that they can entertain the world,” he added.
But Davy Jacobs, the Chevrolet Warriors’ skipper, insists his team are just as eager to push for a Champions League slot this season.
“We got a taste of the Champions League before, and we want to get back there. T20 has an amazing ability to change your life, like we saw with Chris Morris the other day,” Jacobs explained.
“The fans all look forward to it, and so do we as players. Test cricket and first-class cricket is still the pinnacle for me, but T20 cricket can give a player opportunities that you wouldn’t get unless you were an international player,” he added.
“It definitely changed my life when I was picked to go and play for the Mumbai Indians, and domestic players know that once they get to the Champions League, anything can happen.”
Jacobs is excited about the start of the T20 campaign, but he has even more to look forward to before February is over.
“My wife is due to give birth to our second daughter on 27 February, so it is a very exciting month. Actually, I don’t know if I am more nervous or excited,” he chuckled.
“I recently bought a big old, 70’s Chevy truck, and all I can imagine is driving it with my two little girls in the front with me,” he beamed.
Clearly then, there are plenty of reasons for motivation ahead of Sunday’s clash.