Melbourne: South African cricketer John Botha, overlooked for the Test series, will lead the Proteas through the limited-overs stage of the tour, which starts with Sunday night"s Twenty20 clash with Australia at the MCG.
Botha admitted that it would be difficult emulating Graeme Smith, who led South Africa to their first Test series win in Australia and then defied a broken hand and injured elbow to bat in the third Test at the SCG in a forlorn effort to force a draw, the Daily Telegraph reported.
Botha has also endured his share of difficulties in Australia. On South Africa"s last visit, the off-spinner was reported for having a suspect bowling action in his Test debut at the SCG three years ago.
He was banned from bowling, but later that year had his action cleared. Botha said he was pleased with the way he had responded since that hardship.
“Maybe that had to happen and it was good for me. In the end it grew strength in me and I"ve been happy with my bowling the last year or so," Botha said.
Proteas coach Mickey Arthur said Botha"s handling of the career setback had proven him a determined, resilient character who had to be admired.
“Any guy who comes back from something like that has to be really mentally strong and that was really the first time I saw the amount of strength this player had and I"m really glad that he"s stepped through," the Paper quoted Arthur, as saying.
Botha has led his country in only three one-dayers and said he would call on the wise heads of Neil McKenzie, Jacques Kallis and Mark Boucher throughout the series.
Arthur said the Proteas had “closed the book" on their Test tour and would use the two Twenty20 matches and five one-dayers as the launching pad for the 2011 World Cup.