David Miller’s greatest strengths — a mind sans muddle and the resultant clarity in expression — resonate in the manner he speaks. One of South Africa’s most promising youngsters, Miller is in the squad for the World T20.
In his opinion, South Africa was well-equipped to cope with the conditions in Bangladesh. “Many of our guys have played there. There are many who have played in India as well, and the conditions are similar. We have also been playing a lot of domestic T20 cricket,” he told The Hindu in a telephonic interview.
The recent-retirements of stalwarts and the ‘choker’ tag, the 24-year-old said, weren’t weighing the team down. “It’s a new team and a new start to South African cricket. The guys haven’t spoken much about it [choking]. We will be called chokers until we win the World Cup. It’s something we got to deal with.”
‘Killer’ Miller zoomed into the consciousness of a larger audience with his dauntless hitting for Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League (IPL) last year.
His unbeaten 38-ball 101 against Royal Challengers Bangalore — the third-fastest IPL hundred — turned the focus lights on the advice from by his father, Andrew: ‘If it’s in the ‘V’, it’s in the tree, if it’s in the arc, it’s out of the park’. “It’s just a saying my dad used to hear when he played club cricket,” said the left-handed batsman.
Miller, who has been retained by Kings XI, credited the IPL with having provided him a “big stage”. “It’s a global tournament and the Kings XI have been an unbelievable team to be a part of. [But] I don’t really get distracted [by the fame and riches].”
Having been groomed by his father to be a professional cricketer from an early age, Miller attended Maritzburg College, whose alumni include Kevin Pietersen and Jonty Rhodes.
He doesn’t always abide by preset ideas about batting. “A lot of people tell you different things. I practise watching the ball closely. I try something extempore and that works.”
Miller admitted that as a middle-order batsman there were “several things going through your mind”.
“There is pressure, especially when chasing, as people expect you to finish games. In the last two or three years, I have tried not to get ahead of myself.”
How does he do that? “It’s about the little things. I concentrate a lot on my breathing,” said Miller, who has played 40 ODIs and 20 T20Is.
It doesn’t come as a surprise to know that he is an admirer of two big-hitting left-handers: Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist. Off the field, Miller loves to bond with family and friends. Much like Hayden, he is passionate about surfing. “I love the ocean.”