Johan Botha. Picture: WIKICOMMONS
Johan Botha. Picture: WIKICOMMONS

London — Bring your best bowlers and a thick skin‚ and do not be fooled by Australia’s form in 2018.

Johan Botha’s advice to SA for their forthcoming series against the Australians is as sensible as his bowling.

“SA have won enough in Australia not to fear playing here anymore‚ or standing back and almost being overawed by the occasion‚” Botha said.

And he should know.

The Johannesburg-born converted medium pacer played five Tests‚ 78 one-day internationals and 40 T20s for SA as an off-spinner before moving about 10,000km away to Adelaide in 2012 and becoming an Australian citizen in 2016.

Now 36 and still turning an arm over for the Hobart Hurricanes‚ among others‚ he captained SA’s one-day side 10 times — five of them when Graeme Smith was injured in Australia in January 2009‚ which remains their only success in bilateral series in the format there.

SA‚ no doubt still bathing in the afterglow of claiming their first Test rubber in Australia on that tour‚ prevailed 4-1 with Botha claiming eight wickets at an average of 23.50 and an economy rate of 4.00.

Australia are enduring their worst year in one-day cricket‚ losing nine of their 10 games‚ all against England.

But Botha wasn’t ready to write them off: “I think it’s just one of those things where you get in a bit of a slump‚ and a very good one-day team has just got the upper hand over them.”

SA‚ too‚ have not been their usual out-of-tournament bulletproof selves in 2018 with just seven wins from 14 ODIs. Not that Botha was about to kick them into touch‚ either.

“I think SA are shaping up pretty well. Again‚ if all the bowlers are fit they will compete well. But‚ right here‚ right now‚ SA captain Faf du Plessis should prepare himself for reminders of his conviction for ball-tampering in Australia two years ago.

“The Australian public will hang onto anything to try make your tour a disaster‚ especially [if it involves] the captain of the opposing team.”

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