Batting baron David Miller is looking forward to playing an influential role for the Proteas both on and off the field in their five-match T20 series against India which starts on Thursday, having done the business in spectacular fashion for the champion Gujarat Titans in the Indian Premier League.
The 32-year-old Miller will become the first South African to play 100 T20 Internationals if he plays in all five matches of the series. Given his red-hot form of late – he scored 481 runs at an average of 68.71 and a strike-rate of 142 in the IPL – that would seem sensible.
“Scoring the runs that I did and closing out games for my team was what I was looking forward to doing, so it was nice to tick that box,” Miller said on Tuesday. “My objective is now the same for the Proteas.
“I’ve been around a long time and you develop, grow and mature in your role. I understand my game a lot better now. I still get nervous and the odd negative thought, but experience allows you to deal with that much better.
“So I also want to have that calming effect in the changeroom, clarify with the younger guys what they need to do, build those relationships. I enjoy giving advice and sharing my experience.
“But it’s important to learn from the youngsters too, how they approach the game, their mindsets. It’s a cool responsibility to have and I don’t feel any extra pressure because of it,” Miller said.
Experience and matchwinners
While Miller is mindful of the positive energy and good vibes they can engender back home by beating India, he warned that their hosts, despite resting stars like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami, have experience and matchwinners spread through their squad. And again, the IPL has played a key role in their success, which has seen them win 12 T20 internationals in a row.
“India have a lot of depth because of the IPL, and a lot of experienced players from there who are used to dealing with pressure,” Miller said. “They have serious matchwinners and it’s going to be a challenging series for us.
“We have had no games since the last World Cup but we now understand our roles much better and we just want to get that blueprint back to where we were and iron out a few things leading up to the World Cup,” Miller said.