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New Bulls, Heat coach Botha off and running

3 minute read

Former South Africa spinner and captain Johan Botha has signed a three-year contract to coach the Queensland Bulls and Brisbane Heat.

JOHAN BOTHA. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Johan Botha reckons he's softened since becoming a coach and that his time pounding the pavement will be spent thinking about how to pull the Queensland Bulls off the canvas in his new role.

The former South Africa spinner and captain will lead Brisbane Heat's Big Bash League title defence and also coach the Bulls for at least the next three seasons.

The 42-year-old was confirmed on Tuesday to replace Wade Seccombe in the role after the long-time mentor chose not to reapply for the position in March.

Botha will inherit a champion Twenty20 unit but raw first-class squad, with Queensland Cricket (QC) clear in its plans to rejuvenate after collecting just their second Sheffield Shield wooden spoon in 30 years.

Botha captained the Proteas in 10 one-day internationals, leading a team that included the likes of former Heat player AB de Villiers, Jacques Kallis, Herschelle Gibbs, Mark Boucher and Hashim Amla.

A ferocious competitor, Botha played five Tests, 78 one-day internationals and 40 Twenty20 Internationals for South Africa between 2005 and 2012.

Now an Australian citizen, Botha enjoyed a long IPL and BBL career, playing his last professional game for Hobart in 2021 and also captaining South Australia's Shield team.

A former assistant at Adelaide Strikers, Botha's coaching experience is limited to T20 stints in the UAE, United States, Pakistan and Caribbean.

Those jobs gave him some early exposure to the late Dean Jones, who he counts as one of his great influences, and meant he's already coached current Bulls and Test star Usman Khawaja, a famously relaxed character.

"Chatting to him (Khawaja) during and post-PSL, he said he was so surprised how different I was as a coach to a player," Botha said on Tuesday.

"Hopefully he's spread that to the group, that what you played against is a little bit different.

"I don't want to be a coach that's over the top, keeps pushing and telling.

"Once it's game time they've got to make decisions for themselves."

Botha has remained tremendously fit by competing in long-distance running events.

"I've never been a gym guy ... but I'm happy to run," he said.

"That's my (cricket) thinking time.

"(I want to) win trophies and develop players to play for Australia ... for a good amount of games, not as gap-fillers.

"Hopefully I can do that."

A selection panel of former Test keeper and QC director Ian Healy, QC chief executive Terry Svenson and elite cricket boss Joe Dawes made the call.

Former Test batsman Joe Burns wasn't offered a new contract by QC, while Test spinner Matthew Kuhnemann joined Tasmania in search of greater red-ball opportunities.

Instead, Queensland have promoted four members of Australia's U19 Word Cup-winning squad among seven new faces on the contract list.

Botha will have Darren Lehmann as an assistant at the Heat, while Andy Bichel will serve as an assistant for both the Heat and the Bulls.

Wade Townsend will act as the Bulls' batting coach.

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