Johan Botha comes out of retirement to play in Big Bash

Former South African spinner Johan Botha will come out of retirement to play in the upcoming edition of the Big Bash League (BBL).

Botha will be plying his trade with the Hobart Hurricanes, who have signed him as replacement for Sandeep Lamichhane after the Nepal spinner contracted Covid-19 and won’t be available to play immediately.

Botha is no stranger to the BBL, having previously played three seasons with the Adelaide Strikers from 2012 to 2014, before joining the Sydney Sixers from 2015 to 2018, and then the Hobart Hurricanes for BBL 8.

The 38-year-old, who got his Australian citizenship in 2016 and is on the coaching roster for Tasmania, will qualify as a local player and be available for the first game.

“It was a choice between ‘Do I further my coaching career, or do I miss the first couple of games of the Pakistan Super League?'” Botha said. (Botha is currently assistant coach of the Karachi Kings in the Pakistan Super League T20 competition.)

“I figured I’m as fit as I’ve ever been, and I feel I can still make a contribution to the team,” he continued. “I’ve missed playing but I didn’t really want to put it out there and say ‘can you pick me’ in case it didn’t work out, so we kept it quiet from when we first chatted about it at the Shield hub in Adelaide, and it slowly built up from there.”

Botha played 5 Tests, 78 ODIs and 40 T20Is for the Proteas in which he scalped 17, 72 and 37 wickets respectively.

The Hurricanes will start their BBL 10 campaign when they face reigning Champions, the Sydney Sixers, at Blundstone Arena on Thursday.

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