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Botha plans to outwit Pietersen

Proteas spinner relishing chance to take on England skipper

Botha: one-day specialist

Johan Botha is looking forward to bowling at England captain Kevin Pietersen during the NatWest Series.

England v South Africa
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"If we can set it up early and take a lead I am sure the confidence should take us through to the end, and we can win the series."

Johan Botha

Quotes of the week

The South African off-spinner has never faced Pietersen in a competitive match but is confident he can cope with the challenge.

Earlier in the summer during the one-dayers against New Zealand, Pietersen made headlines with two 'switch hit' sixes off Scott Styris.

Since then, South Africa's management have been particularly impressed in the Test series with how Pietersen's ingenuity has made them alter their field settings.

"Obviously you have to find a way to bowl some dots against him and build a bit of pressure, because he is one of the world's best if not the best at the moment," said Botha ahead of the NatWest Series opener at Headingley on Friday.

"He has got all the shots and new ones. I see it as a challenge because no one else out there does it, so I would like to see what I do if he does it.

"We have had a few chats, and some of the senior guys have an idea what I should do.

"If he moves late you cannot do anything if the ball has already left your hand.

Opportunity

"If he does move early you maybe could pull out, but I suppose it is also a good opportunity for a wicket if you get it right.

"If he is totally turning around then his head is moving.

"But you have to acknowledge he has done it well so far: I have seen him five to 10 times, and he has never failed."

South Africa are ranked second in the world to Australia in limited-overs cricket and are flying high after securing a 2-1 victory in the Test series in England.

"The first two games are going to be important," said Botha, who is the Proteas' first-choice spinner in the shorter forms of the game.

"If we can set it up early and take a lead I am sure the confidence should take us through to the end, and we can win the series."

The tourists are expected to be without all-rounder Albie Morkel (shoulder) at Headingley, while his younger brother Morne is also doubtful due to a side strain.