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Botha to captain South Australia

Brydon Coverdale

March 31, 2012

Comments: 19 | Text size: A | A

Johan Botha, South Africa's stand-in Twenty20 captain, at a press conference on the eve of the game against India, Johannesburg, March 29, 2012
Johan Botha will leave South Africa to captain South Australia next season © Getty Images
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Johan Botha will be released from his Cricket South Africa national contract after the ICC World Twenty20 in September to take up the captaincy of South Australia. The surprise move came after Botha impressed the powers that be in South Australia with his performance for the Adelaide Strikers in the Big Bash League in December and January.

He will replace the state's captain of the past two seasons, Michael Klinger, who had a strong season in all formats and captained South Australia to their first one-day title in 25 years. However, South Australia's awful Sheffield Shield form - the Redbacks didn't win a first-class match this summer and won only one the previous year - has prompted the state to look at ways the side can improve.

The Cricket South Africa acting CEO, Jacques Faul, said the board had decided to release Botha from his contract because the opportunity to lead an Australian domestic side was too good to pass up. However, he stressed that Botha was not retiring from international cricket and remained committed to the national side in the long-term.

"Johan has been an excellent servant of South African cricket for a lengthy period of time and we will never forget the manner in which he captained the Proteas to success in the absence of Graeme Smith in the away ODI series in Australia in 2009," Faul said. "He has fully committed himself to the Proteas for the next five months which includes the away series in Zimbabwe and England as well as the World Twenty20.

"He is at the moment our first choice spinner in the Twenty20 format. However, he has had an offer to captain South Australia over the next two seasons and this will provide valuable opportunities in broadening his experience in a leadership role. I must stress that Johan remains fully committed to South African cricket in the long run and he is by no means bringing down the curtain on his international career for the Proteas."

Botha said money was not a factor in his decision to sign with the Redbacks.

"I remain fully committed to the Proteas in the long term but I would hate to look back on my career at the end and regret that I did not take this opportunity," Botha said. "It is purely a cricket decision and there is no financial incentive in accepting it. If anything I will be earning less than I would as a contracted player."

Botha, 29, has not played first-class cricket in 15 months, although he has appeared in five Tests for South Africa. His presence at South Australia, combined with the availability of Nathan Lyon whenever his international commitments allow, will limit the opportunities for the state's young spinners, including Cullen Bailey and Cameron Williams.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by starbuck on (April 2, 2012, 12:29 GMT)

i rate him, but its an odd decision. I hope Botha nails it but I think the redbacks will end up getting ripped off, hello Andy Flower!!? as a long suffering redbacks supporter it's skills, patience and desire they need not strategy.. oh yeh and that other dude is right, Cossie should never have got that fat.

Posted by Meety on (April 1, 2012, 23:54 GMT)

@JB77 - spot on matey! Mainly in refernce to the Cullen & Bailey. They were as good a spinners that Oz have produced in decades & they have not kicked on. I think Bailey in particular needs to change state, I think it would do him a world of good.

Posted by Robster1 on (April 1, 2012, 14:08 GMT)

Oh dear oh dear, another win for quotas as SA's best limited over spin bowler has been encouraged to leave the country. Botha is indeed a quality player and man and should always be one of the first names on SA's mimited over team sheets. Good luck to him and here's hoping that it's not the World 20/20 is not the last we see of him in national colours.

Posted by RKB1975 on (March 31, 2012, 19:59 GMT)

I don believe this!!! I am a huge fan of Botha and not seeing him in the playing XI for a long time was very hard to take and seeing Peterson get the nod made it even worse. Here's a guy who is a leader, a fantastic all rounder and most importantly, someone who can cut the flow of runs in the middle overs. But, that's not what the Gary and AB are thinking is it?? Find that really disrespectful. I feel Botha has had enough of it and wanted to go a place where he would be appreciated for what he is worth.. All the Best to him there!! I wonder why South African board is always so bad in dealing with its own players!!!

Posted by   on (March 31, 2012, 18:08 GMT)

CSA deserves this. Why was he dropped from the one-day squad to be replaced by robin peterson.u cant copmare the two especially botha's ability as an allrounder. CSA selectors deserves the loss

Posted by FatBoysCanBat on (March 31, 2012, 11:18 GMT)

This is a very strange decision by both Johan Botha and Cricket South Africa. This bloke is SA's premier spinner in ODI's and he is gonna cut all ties with South African cricket to captain an Australian state side. He will not represent Australia because by the time he qualifies for them he will be 33 and they have enough home-grown talent to pick from that they won't need to pick a foreign player. At least this will mean more game-time for Tahir.

Posted by RameshSubramaniam on (March 31, 2012, 8:41 GMT)

SA is moving backwards of playing bits and pieces player like Robin peterson. Botha with the economy rate of 6.23 in T20 internationals, is deserved to be more than the member of cricket team. Lightening cannot strike twice. May be that become true in Kristen's case where he cannot replicate India's success in SA. With current bowling attack, SA should be able to win test matches at their will but not sure same about ODI and T20

Posted by JB77 on (March 31, 2012, 8:27 GMT)

Well I won't be renewing my club membership next year then. As a resident of Adelaide and a long-time Redbacks fan I think this is a completely disgraceful decision. Yes, the Redbacks have been poor for some time, but the solution isn't an overrated, South African chucker as captain. Why not spend the money on improving the local club cricket scene and nurturing new local talent? One man won't fix a system that clearly isn't producing enough good players nor helping them perfect their skills. Look what Ryan Harris has achieved since leaving the Redbacks for the Bulls. Look at how Dan Cullen and Cullen Bailey never developed to anything near their full potential. Look at how out of shape Cosgrove was allowed to get! There's something very wrong with Sth Australia's methods and this is NOT the solution. I've stuck by the Redbacks for years despite poor and often embarrassing form, but no more. What an absolute joke.

Posted by   on (March 31, 2012, 8:05 GMT)

Congratulations Jo Bo. You've been the Shane Warne type of Leader for South Africa.

Posted by   on (March 31, 2012, 7:32 GMT)

Like a punch in the stomach for this Warriors fan. This is what happens when the national team and then the franchise team does not appreciate probably the best on-field cricket brain in the country. Looking forward to seeing South Australia succeed, we don't deserve him.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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