David Miller’s absence from the first two T20Is against England left a bigger void than probably expected, writes ANDRE HUISAMEN.
On Sunday, the Proteas middle order struggled to deliver an explosive finish to their innings. They were ultimately about 2o-plus runs short of what would’ve been a decent and defendable total against the power of England’s batting unit.
Miller didn’t feature in Friday’s opening clash at Newlands either and it appears he was indeed the player from the Proteas camp who tested positive for Covid-19 in the lead-up to the series.
Although the situation is unprecedented for a sports team in the modern era, his absence raised a serious problem for the Proteas that, in the end, was severely felt in the series loss.
Miller might have had a tragic IPL campaign where he only featured once for the Rajasthan Royals, but his experience in the Proteas limited-overs teams is unmatched.
Apart from George Linde’s little cameo towards the end of the innings on Sunday, the Proteas middle order failed to be explosive and aggressive in the latter stages.
Rassie van der Dussen is a quality player and extremely important to the Proteas set-up, but when he misfires like yesterday the grit of a Miller should be able to finish off the innings in style.
Many past question marks have been raised about Miller’s potential, with many feeling he isn’t developing into the player the Proteas initially wanted him to be.
While that is true to an extent, Miller remains a key part of any Proteas T20I outfit and fits the structure perfectly as a capable middle-order batsman, who can be destructive towards the end.
His record and experience are well documented in this format, but his maturity within the set-up – particularly in this current new Proteas team – might be bigger than we think.
Miller proved that in the ODI series against Australia just before Covid-19 struck, where he led from the front and battled the Proteas out of tricky situations to an impressive series win.
His Covid-19 infection was unfortunate and beyond anyone’s control, but his unavailability had a bigger impact than expected.
Until the Proteas develop into a ruthless team, like England for example, it’s hard to see them reach any form of success without Miller in the team.
And that will especially be of the utmost importance in the lead-up to next year’s T20 World Cup.