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Renshaw project a priority for new Bulls coach Botha

3 minute read

Johan Botha will nut out a plan for Matt Renshaw in the Sheffield Shield pre-season to ensure the opener is ready for his Test chance if he gets one.

MATTHEW RENSHAW. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Johan Botha doesn't want Matt Renshaw to miss another Test chance, declaring the left-hander is one of his pre-season priorities as the new Queensland Bulls coach.

The former South African spinner signed a three-year deal on Tuesday, replacing Wade Seccombe as Bulls and Brisbane Heat coach.

Highlighting the challenges of the wide-ranging role, the Bulls finished last for just the second time in 30 years of Sheffield Shield last season while the Heat won the Big Bash League title.

A host of fresh faces have been handed contracts as a result with Botha hoping to fast-track their progress in his first coaching experience outside of Twenty20 cricket.

Turning players into long-term national representatives is his other goal and Renshaw is top of the list as one of several fighting to replace the retired David Warner at the top of the Test order.

Renshaw debuted against South Africa in 2016 as a raw prospect and showed plenty with a patient 184 in just his fourth Test.

He was dropped a year later despite a consistent tour of India, then parachuted in for one Test after the ball-tampering bans to Warner and Cam Bancroft in 2018.

Renshaw played three Tests last year, unable to mount a case in limited opportunities in the middle order that left him with an average just below 30 from 14 Tests.

The race is on to open for Australia in the post-David Warner era when India visit later this year, and Botha wants his man to be ready.

"We've got to get him in the best form and shape as possible and when that opportunity comes up and does fall to him that he's ready to take it and not let it go again," he said.

"If he gets his foot in the door it's an opportunity for the next four, five, six years.

"Set up a (pre-season) plan so that if it does fall his way, we've got to be ready for him to take it, not sort of be 50-50 and 'what-if or could have or should have'."

Botha has turned to long-distance running in his playing retirement and says he will run with the squad and challenge them to improve their own fitness standards.

But the Australian citizen, who captained South Australia's Sheffield Shield team, said he had no plans to rock the boat on his arrival.

"I don't just want to jump in and immediately change things, like it's got to be my way or the highway," he said.

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