Proteas batsman David Miller has stressed that despite a new look to the team, South Africa want to win the three-ODI series against world champions England.
For that to happen, the Proteas will need Miller to step up and provide the kind of finishing ability he has shown intermittently throughout his career.
At the World Cup, Miller delivered a decidedly average performance, notching four scores in the 30s and never getting out the blocks.
The Proteas need Miller to act as the MS Dhoni of this team, which might require him to take the game deep – or it could mean he has to take on the English bowling straight away.
South Africa have plenty of batting options and could try several different combinations, but if they are fit, Miller and captain Quinton de Kock should be the first names on the team sheet.
At 30 years old, Miller is one of the Proteas’ old guard who still has a shot at going to another World Cup, but he needs to prove his value and find his place in a rejigged ODI side.
With Faf du Plessis rested, Miller might be asked to move up to No 4, which would require the left-hander to play a different game from what he is used to.
Miller would probably be better deployed at five or six, depending on the match situation, especially with the likes of Rassie van der Dussen in the squad.
The veteran of 126 ODIs did not play in the opening round of the domestic List A competition, suggesting team director Mark Boucher may be happy that Miller is ready to take on England.
Miller has shown that he can play innings of great maturity and also very destructive knocks, but what the Proteas need from him is consistency.
In a squad that lacks experience, Miller’s ability to finish off an innings will be crucial, and it could be lethal if De Kock can rally the top order to perform.
Miller has not scored an ODI ton since November 2018, when he put in a match-winning display against Australia in Hobart – and 2019 passed without Miller going past 50 in ODI cricket.
His experience makes him valuable to Boucher, but Miller can’t get by without winning matches for the Proteas anymore.
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