Kolkata: Surprised at the call up, Kolkata Knight Riders’ South African recruit Johan Botha, who was brought in as replacement for injured Aussie Chris Lynn, on Saturday said he’s fresh after a three-week break and ready for the rigours of IPL-8 cricket tournament.
“I came to know about this eight or 10 days ago. I played my last game in the Big Bash) about a three-week break which I don’t think is not bad before a long season after coming to India,” Botha said.
“It was definitely a surprise. I did not really follow Chris Lynn’s injury. I did not know how serious it was,” the former Delhi Daredevils and Rajasthan Royals spinner said.
The South African off-spinner said he hoped to contribute as a batsman in the lower order as he’s looking forward to a three-in-one role in the team.
“Be it spin or pace if you can can add some valuable runs at No 6, 7 or 8 it helps any team. Then you do all three of the game — bat, ball and field,” the 32-year-old said.
“These days if you are an out and out bowler, be it spin or pace, you have to be at your best. You need to do really good to just be a bowler in the game. Then you got to be a decent fielder. So you have to do at least two of the three.
“But if you can spin and bat and add to your fielding, then you become a three-in-one player in your team,” he added.
Botha also said the Eden track would assist spin which has been the core strength of the defending champions.
“This one helps the spinners definitely. If you see the Knight Riders line-up they have really gone for the spinners that obviously tells you that it does assist the spinners. As the tournament goes on, it starts to spin a bit more. Chennai normally spins a bit and they have got quite a few spinners and also a bit in Wankhede,” he said.
Kolkata Knight Riders have included chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav and rookie KC Cariappa and Botha said they’re promising players.
“We have some good spinners around and some guys with different skills which is good to see. These days you got to look for some variation. So it’s great to see the likes of Narine and Ajmal and coming through, and showing all the tricks in the book.”
Meanwhile Sunil Narine, who is awaiting his clearance report from the BCCI for his suspect action, skipped the practice for the second successive day
“There is no comment on Narine at the moment. Obviously, he’s gone for testing, we have to wait for the report to come,” Botha said.
A team official later clarified Narine was not barred from the practice.
Blaming it on jetlag, he said: “It’s his personal choice. He’s travelled a lot, you do get jetlag.”
Apart from Botha, South African premier pacer Morne Morkel, Netherlands’ Ryan ten Doeschate and Australian duo of Brad Hogg and Pat Cummins joined the practice today.
Azhar Mahmood, Andre Russell and Indian pacer Umesh Yadav along with the batting and bowling mentors Wasim Akram and Jacques Kallis are slated to join tomorrow.