Home » Why a South African leader is poised to unlock Australia’s opener debate

Why a South African leader is poised to unlock Australia’s opener debate

Newly appointed Queensland Cricket coach Johan Botha believes he is the man to unlock the true potential of Matthew Renshaw, and help guide him from hopeful prospect to genuine Test opener candidate.

Renshaw was seemingly locked in a three-way battle with Marcus Harris and Cameron Bancroft for Australia’s spot atop the order following the retirement of David Warner, only for Steve Smith to be elevated and Cameron Green to be recalled.

Matthew Renshaw’s future will be a key focus of Johan Botha’s tenure with Queensland Cricket.Credit: Getty Images

But aside from a glittering century in his maiden series more than six years ago, Renshaw has failed to truly cement his case in 14 Tests. His 2023-24 summer struggles – 374 runs at 24.93 – did not entice selectors to call his number.

Botha, who will take over both the Bulls and Brisbane Heat, is adamant he can help thrust Renshaw’s name to the head of the queue.

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Having featured for South Africa on 123 occasions across all three formats of the game, and coached in T20 leagues in Pakistan and the West Indies, he believed he had the tools to get the best out of the 27-year-old.

“We’ve got to get him in the best form shape as possible, and then when that opportunity comes up, and it does fall to him then he’s ready to take it and not let it go again,” Botha said.

“If he gets his foot in the door, I think hopefully that’s an opportunity for the next four, five, six years for him. That’s going to be our focus this preseason, to see where he’s at, spend time with him … and set up a plan.

“If it does fall his way, we’ve got to be ready for him to take it and not sort of be 50-50. We want to be ready so when that does come up he’s ready for it.