Imperative for bowlers to contribute with bat: Johan Botha

Kolkata: KKR’s South African recruit Johan Botha on Saturday asserted that it was imperative for a bowler – whether a spinner or a pacer – to have the ability to contribute to the team also as a batsman and a fielder.

“Be it a spinner or a pacer, if you can bat, and add some valuable runs down the order, it helps any team. These days if you are just an out and out bowler, doesn’t matter whether you spin or seam, you need to be one of the best in the world, you need to be really good to be just bowling in the game,” the off spinner said after the team’s practice session at the Eden Gardens here.

“You got to be doing at least two of things, like spin and bat or bowl and add to it your fielding. Those guys who can do all the three, the three-in-one players, those are the valuable players,” he said.

The 32-year-old spinner, who replaced Australia’s Chris Lynn in the Kolkata Knight Riders, said he was surprised to get a call from the Shah Rukh Khan owned Indian Premier League franchise.

“It was definitely a surprise. I didn’t really follow Lynn’s injury and didn’t know how serious it was. It was definitely a surprise,” he said.

Botha, along with former Pakistan all rounder Azhar Mahmood, has been drafted in as replacements for Lynn and New Zealander Jimmy Neesham, both out with injury.

Talking about his experience of playing in the Australian Big Bash league or the South African Ram Slam T20 Challenge, Botha said the IPL was more hectic but has more following.

“Crowd-wise it is big in India. But in IPL there is a game every day. The games just keep coming. So it’s great for the crowd.

“The Big Bash or the Ram Slam is mainly played on weekends. But here you can get on the roll and if you are on the wrong side, you can lose. But if you are on the right side you can win 5-6 games inside 12-15 days,” he said.

The tweaker also singled out Eden Gardens and the Chennai and Mumbai grounds as the most spin- friendly.

“The fact the KKR have been going for spinners in their lineup does tells you that this wicket assists the spinners. Beside Eden, Chennai too affords spin as is evident by their team makeup. Mumbai also has spin in the wicket but it has a bit of bounce,” added Botha.