Botha appointed to lead Heat title defence, Bulls resurgence

Former South Africa international replaces Wade Seccombe as new Queensland and Brisbane Heat men's coach

Former South Africa international Johan Botha has been named as Queensland and Brisbane Heat's new men's head coach, replacing Wade Seccombe.

Botha was bowling coach at the Strikers in BBL|12 and head coach of Sharjah Warriors in the International League T20 as recently as February, and is the incumbent bowling coach for Seattle Orcas in Major League Cricket.

The 42-year-old played 123 times for the Proteas between 2005 and 2012, and became an Australian citizen shortly thereafter, going on to captain South Australia and Adelaide Strikers late in his career, before also plying his trade with Sydney Sixers and Hobart Hurricanes.

He reunites with Queensland's general manager of elite teams, performance and pathways, Joe Dawes, whose time as a fast-bowling coach at the SACA overlapped with Botha's playing days there around a decade ago.

"Johan is a fiercely motivated and determined person and has consistently displayed those traits during his playing and coaching career," Dawes said.

"He is very much at the cutting edge of the game internationally and will bring a fresh and dynamic outlook to our organisation and especially the Bulls and championship Brisbane Heat squads."

With only minimal experience as a head coach, Botha has emerged as something of a bolter for a position that was highly sought after. understands Fire and Heat women's head coach Ashley Noffke was also being seriously considered for the role, while coaching journeyman Adam Hollioake, who has worked in the Queensland Cricket system, was also reported as being one of three final candidates.

Seccombe leaves big shoes to fill. The 52-year-old, who has just been posted to a T20 high performance role with Cricket Victoria, won KFC BBL|13 with the Heat last summer, turning them around from perennial underachievers to champions in the space of a couple of seasons.

Under his tenure, Queensland twice won the Shield (2017-18 and 2020-21), but last summer collected the wooden spoon for just the second time in 30 years.

The Bulls have also now gone a decade without lifting the domestic one-day trophy – their longest drought in that competition since its inception more than half a century ago.

Queensland Cricket was adamant on one head coach taking on both roles, despite Seccombe being unable to enjoy success across formats since taking on the overarching position in 2021.

Botha celebrates a wicket against the Heat during BBL|08 // Getty

Botha will benefit from the experience of former Australia head coach Darren Lehmann as his assistant at the Heat, while Queensland legend Andy Bichel is a long-term fast-bowling coach with the Bulls (and Heat) and has been credited for an ongoing production line of high-quality first-class pacemen.

Queensland Cricket announced their men's contract list last month, with a clear policy of youth as it looks to reignite its Shield team. Australia Under-19 Word Cup winners Callum Vidler, Lachlan Aitken, Hugh Weibgen and NSW recruit Tom Straker were all handed state deals, while veteran batter Joe Burns did not receive a contract and 27-year-old left-arm orthodox spinner Matthew Kuhnemann joined Tasmania.

Former NSW batter Lachlan Hearne, opening batter Angus Lovell and seamer Jem Ryan round out the fresh faces in the Queensland squad.

Lovell, 24, played the final four games of the Sheffield Shield season off the back of impressive performances in Premier Cricket and the Queensland Second XI.

Hearne, a former Australia under-19 representative, previously played a one-dayer and four first-class games for NSW for a top score of 65. He also earned his spot on the contract list with a strong season for the Queensland Second XI and club side Toombul where he hit an unbeaten 202 from 216 balls last October.

Weibgen, Hugo Burdon – who made his List A debut for the Bulls in February – and off-spinner Jack Sinfield, who played three Shield matches in 2022-23, all earned promotion from the rookie list to full contracts.

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