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Johan Botha is a former South African cricketer who played at the international level for the rainbow nation from 2005-2012. Botha joined the team as an off-spinner, but soon started playing the role of an all-rounder for the team.
Throughout his career, he filled the vital role of a crafty spinner and a lower order batsman for the Proteas.
As surprising as it may sound, Johan started his career as a medium pacer. He once admitted that he could bowl over 125 km/h, but shifted to off-spin after the change was suggested by the then national coach Mickey Arthur.
Botha grabbed the attention of the selectors after the success that he had on the tour of Sri Lanka as a member of the South Africa A team. He took some important wickets for the team on that tour and also scored runs.
Botha made his ODI debut against India on 16 November 2005. He bowled six overs in the match and picked up just one wicket. He didn’t play up the order as these were the initial days of his career.
He made his Test debut two months later in January 2006, against the Australian side. Although it was a test match, he got to bowl less than 20 overs and picked up just two wickets.
Rise to Glory
Botha saw a fine deal of ups and downs throughout his career. The best part of his career came in patches. He never picked up a five-wicket haul in his ODI career, but he was really useful for the team because of his low economy rate.
Between 2007 and 2011, he played 66 ODIs and managed to maintain an economy rate of 4.53 and in the course, picked up 64 wickets.
Even in the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup, he maintained an economy rate of 4.07 and proved to be really instrumental for the team.
There were many low points in Johan’s career, primarily due to his bowling action. His action was questioned on his very debut in test cricket. Consequently, he was banned by ICC after testing.
He worked on the action and came back. A few months later, it was again confirmed that his action was illegal. However, it was cleared two months later. Throughout his career, this problem with his bowling action kept troubling him.
He played for many clubs during his career. He represented Adelaide Strikers from 2012-2014. He has also played in the Caribbean Premier League and for several teams in the Indian Premier League.
Botha got the captaincy of the T20 side of Proteas when Graeme Smith gave up in 2010. After the 2011 World Cup, he got the ODI captaincy too.
Before this, in 2009, he had got the captaincy of the side as Smith was injured. He led the Proteas to their first ever bilateral series win against Australia in Australia. Although he was not the permanent captain at this time, it is the biggest achievement for his captaincy.
After the 2012 World Twenty20, Botha retired from international cricket. He requested the board to release him from his contract as he did not want to just travel with the team, without playing any game.
He shifted to South Australia and became the captain of the South Australia side straightaway. In 2017, he took up Baseball and started playing for the West Torrens Baseball Club.