Proteas' Johan Botha, proud new dad

By admin
12 August 2010

It’s obvious the Proteas’ former vice-captain, Johan Botha, has been bowled over by his newborn son and when he starts talking the words tumble out. “His birth was the most special moment,” he gushes. “Having a child changes everything.”

Johan (28) was in the delivery room with his wife, Monica, when Austin Botha made his appearance early this month.

The man whose spin bowling strikes fear into the hearts of opponents has put cricket on hold for a while. His love of the game is evident in the pictures dotted throughout their flat in St George’s Oval in Port Elizabeth – and in the name he’s given his son.

“I made my Test debut against Australia so that’s ‘Aust’,” he explains. “And my ODI debut against India – the ‘in’. That makes Austin.”

Johan says he almost missed Austin’s birth. At 4.30 am on 3 August, two weeks before Austin’s due date, Johan was dressed and about to leave for the airport to join his Protea teammates at a training camp when Monica felt some discomfort.

He immediately took her to Life St George’s Hospital 50 metres from their home. “If Monica had not felt uncomfortable I would have left for the airport. I would have been in the air when Austin was born. I would have missed everything.”

It wasn’t all smooth sailing though. Monica lost a lot of blood during the delivery and her blood pressure dropped. She fainted at least five times and needed a blood transfusion.

Austin couldn’t keep anything down at first and was moved to the paediatric intensive-care unit. Fortunately the problem wasn’t very serious and he was out within two days.

Austin, dressed in an “I love Daddy” T-shirt, yawns every so often. “I’ve thought about all the stuff I want to tell him and teach him; things I’ve learnt in life,” Johan says. “If he wants to play sport then wonderful; if not it’s okay. I’ve seen too many parents put too much pressure on their children.”

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