Despite playing only one match in last year’s IPL campaign, Proteas batsman David Miller heads into the 2021 edition in excellent form and in a much-more experienced space, writes ANDRE HUISAMEN.
Run out for a duck, without facing a single delivery, was all the big hitter could account for during his first stint at the Rajasthan Royals a mere seven months ago in the UAE-hosted IPL.
Many suggested it was a sign of the times or the beginning of the event for one of South Africa’s most-gifted strikers of a cricket ball.
In unknown circumstances and with few opportunities to prove himself, both domestically and internationally, Miller managed to rekindle his exciting spark making a welcomed return to form in recent months.
The left-hander held his own during a testing T20I series in Pakistan at the beginning of the year before he finished with the fourth-highest runs in the CSA T20 Challenge, where he played a major role in helping the Dolphins to the final.
Miller then struck consecutive half-centuries last week as the Proteas went into battle with Pakistan in an ODI series – his 54 off only 27 deliveries in the Pink ODI proving deciding in a South African win.
‘It’s been nice to get out and about, play some cricket again,’ Miller told SA Cricket magazine in an exclusive interview on Thursday.
‘Really enjoying where my game is at – I feel like I am in a good space. I have been playing for quite a few years now, so I feel a lot more settled within myself and it is always nice going into a competition like this with some form. If you’re hitting the ball nicely, it’s always a good thing and I always feel comfortable coming in here. I know most the players and how things tick, so everything seems good so far.’
Gearing up for his 10th season in the premier T20 competition in the world, Miller is no stranger to Indian conditions and what to expect on the subcontinent.
The unfortunate turn of events that had him sidelined for all but one Royals match, quickly developed from big disappointment into an opportunity of positive reflection for Miller.
‘It was a tough one to take,’ Miller added.
‘It was probably as bad as it gets but I think it is part of the game and I was expecting not to play too many games with the set-up that they [Rajasthan Royals] had with the four overseas players they had from the previous couple of years. You got the respect that space and who is playing.
‘It didn’t take away from me being prepared and ticking all the boxes in my own space off the field, waiting for the opportunity. At the end of the day, it was quite a nice time to reflect during the IPL when you don’t play. You get to see the game from a different perspective, you pick up things you don’t necessarily pick up when you’re playing, so all these things you have got to take into consideration and use as a positive.’