11 Jan 2009

New SA cricket captain considered mentally strong

1:05 pm on 11 January 2009

South African cricket officials believe new captain Johan Botha can provide a different sort of inspiration now that Graeme Smith has left Australia.

Botha is leading the Proteas through the limited-overs stage of their tour, which starts today with a Twenty20 clash against Australia in Melbourne.

Botha says it will be difficult emulating Smith, who led the Proteas to an historic Test series win and then defied injuries to bat to attempt to save the third Test in Sydney.

Botha has also endured his share of difficulties in Australia - reported for having a suspect bowling action, in his Test debut three years ago.

Proteas coach Mickey Arthur says Botha's handling of the career setback had proven him a determined, resilient character who had to be admired.

He says any guy who comes back from something like that has to be really mentally strong.