Australia BBL news – Johan Botha appointed new Brisbane Heat and Queensland coach

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Former South Africa limited-overs captain Johan Botha has been appointed as the new head coach of BBL reigning champions Brisbane Heat and Queensland in state cricket for the next three years.
Botha, 42, was appointed in the wake of Wade Seccombe’s departure. Queensland WNCL and Brisbane Heat women’s coach Ashley Noffke and former England allrounder Adam Hollioake were also in the mix for the job. The coaching recruitment process was run by Queensland’s head of elite cricket Joe Dawes, CEO Terry Svenson and Queensland board director and former Test wicketkeeper Ian Healy.

Botha is an Australian citizen after moving to Adelaide in 2012 to play full-time for South Australia which effectively ended his international career with South Africa after he had played five Tests, 78 ODIs and 40 T20Is, including captaining his country in 21 white-ball matches.

He captained South Australia in the Sheffield Shield and Marsh Cup for two years before resigning midway through the 2014-15 season to allow Travis Head to take over. Botha also has extensive playing experience in the BBL having played 71 matches with Adelaide Strikers, Sydney Sixers and Hobart Hurricanes. He retired abruptly in 2019 to take up a coaching opportunity in the PSL but came out of retirement as a fill-in during the Covid-ravaged season of 2020-21.

He has accrued extensive coaching experience around the world in recent years. He has been head coach of three PSL sides, Multan Sultans, Karachi Kings and Islamabad United. He also coached Guyana Amazon Warriors in the CPL and led them to the final in 2019 with a unique spin-heavy team.

He was the head coach of Sharjah Warriors in the ILT20 last season, although they finished last, and was assistant coach of Seattle Orcas in MLC when they finished runners-up last year. He was also an assistant coach with Strikers in the BBL as recently as 2022-23.

It is understood Dawes and the Queensland Cricket Board were looking for a coach with a harder edge and they feel they have found that person in Botha.

“Johan is a fiercely motivated and determined person and has consistently displayed those traits during his playing and coaching career,” Dawes said. “He is very much at the cutting edge of the game internationally and will bring a fresh and dynamic outlook to our organisation and especially the Bulls and championship Brisbane Heat squads.”

Speaking in Brisbane on Tuesday following his appointment, Botha said he already had a few existing relationships with Bulls and Heat players. He had played with Michael Neser at Strikers and coached Colin Munro in the PSL but had also played against a lot of the players in his career. He said his experience of coaching Usman Khawaja at Islamabad United in the PSL should give the players a sense that his coaching style is different to his approach as a player.

“I think chatting to him during PSL and post PSL he just said to me, he was so surprised at how different I was as a coach to a player,” Botha said. “I think he’s had a little taste of me. Hopefully, he’s spread that to the group that what you played against is a little bit different, which I think is a good thing.”

Botha credited the late Australian great Dean Jones and Tom Moody as key coaching mentors during his early forays into coaching.

“I think the big thing with Deano was he was so far ahead of his generation,” Botha said. “He understood T20 cricket. He never played it but he just understood it. And he was great for just relating to players. He almost did a Phil Jackson-Dennis Rodman scenario once. He let Alex Hales go back to Dubai for five days. And I said, ‘Deano what are you doing? He’s never going to come back.’ But he said, ‘Just trust me, he will come back, and he will make some runs.’ And that’s exactly what he did. So that was a great example to trust your players. And I’m not sure if I could have done it at that point. But I trusted him, he was the man in charge, and sure enough, Halesy came back and he made some runs for us.”

Botha said his biggest challenge will be coaching the Shield side given all of his coaching experience has come in the T20 space.

“I’ve played a lot of four-day and one-day cricket but I haven’t coached it,” Botha said. “So I think that’s going to be a little bit of a challenge to start with.”

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