Spartan ambassador Johan Botha may be new to the Sydney Sixers, but he is certainly not new to the game of cricket. With an impressive pedigree playing in Australia, India and South Africa, Johan represents an experienced all round talent for his new side, and spoke exclusively to Spartan ahead of the BBL05 season.
While best known for his bowling and subtle off-spin variations, Johan is able to contribute just as easily with his Spartan bat.
“I would say I have always enjoyed batting more, but from the time I started playing real competitive cricket I have always been picked more as a bowler.”
“I love batting but bowling [has been] my main job… so that gave me the mixture to become an all-rounder.”
There are strong challenges involved in playing as an all-rounder, as a balance must be found in training between all necessary skill sets; bowling, batting and fielding. Johan acknowledges the complexity of this, but believes that he has become more comfortable as his career has progressed.
“I think over time you start figuring out the balance of what you need, going into games. But it obviously does take that extra preparation time to make sure all three parts of the game are ready for next match coming up.”
“I must say I probably do spend more time bowling in the nets to my team mates and only around twenty minutes of hitting in the nets. That is just how nets are structured to give everyone a knock.”
The former South African captain is one of the world’s most experienced Twenty20 cricketers, having played in the Indian Premier League since 2009 and the Big Bash League since its inception. Johan believes that the Big Bash League is a world class competition.
“The Big Bash League is right up there with the best in the world, the standard is so high – there are no easy games. IPL and CPL have certain restrictions, but the BBL is just the best taking on the best.”
Having played since the 2011-12 season for the Adelaide Strikers, Johan is excited about the opportunity to challenge himself with the Sydney Sixers and don their famous pink.
“I love playing at the Sydney Cricket Ground, so it’s nice to have that as my new home ground, and of course [to wear] the magenta!”
With a three year contract, the Sixers have made sure to tie down Johan for the long term – a crucial part of their team, forming a tantalising three-pronged spin bowling attack alongside Nathan Lyon and Stephen O’Keefe.
Johan is in for a tough debut match for the Sixers, as his side come up across cross-town rivals the Sydney Thunder this Thursday.
Read more about Spartan’s Big Bash League ambassadors here!