May 02, 1982, Johannesburg, Transvaal
Right hand bat
Right arm offbreak
Johan Botha is the quintessential limited-overs player, who does several things well, adding value as a thrifty offspinner, a useful lower-order batsman and a fine fielder. During the late 2000s, he was a regular in South Africa's ODI and T20I squads, though his brand of economical offspin bowling was considered too limited to make him a regular in the longer format - he has played only five Tests for South Africa.
Botha's best suit is his offspin bowling: he is accurate, he varies his pace and length intelligently, and isn't afraid to bowl at any stage of an innings - attributes which made him a favourite in the limited-overs format. Between 2007 and 2011, Botha played 66 ODIs and took 64 wickets at an economy rate of 4.53. In the 2011 World Cup, he had a fine economy rate of 4.07 in the five matches he played. Before that, in 2009, he also led South Africa to an ODI series win against Australia in Australia in 2009.
However, throughout his career Botha has been plagued by question-marks about his bowling action. His action was cited on his Test debut in January 2006, and following testing at the University of Western Australia, he was banned by the ICC. Botha reworked his action but it was confirmed once again in September that he bent his arm more than 15 degrees. However, after another review in November, Botha's action was cleared by the ICC. More recently, he underwent biomechanical analysis and was cleared by Cricket Australia after being reported by the umpires in a domestic one-day match in October 2013.
Before Botha made his strides as a spinner, he was a medium pacer for the Eastern Cape Warriors - by his own admission he was quicker than 125 kmph. However, Mickey Arthur, the former South Africa coach, had a look at him in the nets and saw something else that Botha dropped his ambitions for speed. The move has served him well over a career that has lasted more than a decade.
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