For a man of his explosive talent, David Miller took a long time to stop looking behind his back.
Not that one could blame the national selectors for continually keeping the selection axe sharpened because the left-hander had been previously plagued by inconsistency.
Yet when the Proteas take on Sri Lanka in the first of three T20s in Centurion on Friday, something will have changed.
People won’t be questioning Miller’s place in the side.
In fact, the mercurial big-hitter will now be considered a senior, key member.
“It’s really nice. I feel free,” said Miller.
“In the last six months or so, I’ve been working really hard. Things have clicked and I try to keep it that way.”
Many believe Miller’s magnificent 118 off 79 balls against Australia last year – when the Proteas chased down 372 – was his making as an international player.
There’s suddenly a newfound sense of responsibility and versatility, illustrated by an innings in this season’s domestic T20 competition.
In a match against the Titans in Benoni, Miller batted higher up – at No 4 – and smashed an unbeaten 120 out of a total of 185.
That represented 65% of the Knights’ runs.
And that’s the new Miller, a man who isn’t overthinking anymore.
A man who sticks to things that work.
“It’s been a process sorting out my my game the past two years,” said Miller.
“I feel I’ve grown a lot. I’m consciously trying to stick to what is working. I had a calf and groin strain I had to overcome a month or two ago but I’m fit and ready. I feel I can easily find my form again.”
Given the inexperienced squad that the Proteas have assembled for the T20 series, the 27-year-old is hopeful of a top-order spot, despite his reputation as a middle-order “finisher”.
“I would really like that. I batted higher up for the Knights this season and I enjoyed the responsibility,” said Miller.
“I believe I’m equipped now with the tools to be a top-order batter.”
He’s also looking forward to being a mentor for the newbies in the squad.
“The great thing is that we can make this experience ‘real’ for them. We can tell them they’re here because they were the best performers in the domestic T20,” said Miller.
“That’s a great dynamic. I’m hoping we can get a bit of a culture going.”