Only limited Miller time
Powerful Proteas left-hander has pulled the plug on his red-ball cricket career
THE KZN Dolphins will have the services of David Miller for white-ball cricket, but the powerful left-hander will not form part of their four-day plans anymore.
That was not a secret for coach Grant Morgan, who had a chat with the 29-year-old before the decision was announced earlier this week.
“We had a good chat with Davey, and he was very honest. That is what we have come to expect from him as a human, and he has thought long and hard about this decision. It has not been easy,” Morgan revealed.
Miller, by way of announcing his unavailability for first-class cricket, has also closed the door on one of his biggest ambitions growing up; playing Test cricket.
“That was a massive goal for him, but I think you get to the stage when you have to make a call. Dave probably feels that there are still two or three guys ahead of him in the Test set-up, and there are also young players coming through,” Morgan explained.
Miller, who moved to the Knights for a period, certainly gave it a go in white clothing in Bloemfontein. There were centuries en route to a Sunfoil Series victory with the Knights, and a renewed vigour for being an enforcer in the middleorder. He has long craved the chance to show that he was more than a bludgeoner, but the line for places in the Proteas batting unit is longer than most.
Even now, in the wake of AB de Villiers’ retirement, there are still plenty of players putting their hands up.
Theunis de Bruyn, Heinrich Klaasen and Rudi Second have all made the runs that justify closer inspection, and Miller would have to wait for them before even getting a sniff. Meanwhile, his T20 stock has never dwindled, with gigs around the world, and a cast-iron reputation as a team man and an opposition destroyer.
Naturally, offers have come his way, including being a marquee player in the new T20 competition in the desert.
“I think it is a reality that we have to face in our cricket now. It is going to keep happening, where players in their prime are offered chances to make serious money overseas,” Morgan warned.
“We have to find a way to work around that, and I don’t think you can blame a guy like Dave in his position. He would definitely have been in our plans. You want someone like him walking in at No 4, because we all know his ability. That said, we do have some options in our middle-order,” Morgan reasoned.
Miller’s announcement didn’t shock anyone because he was not even near the Test squad, but it sent ripples of concern across South African cricket because of what it could spark.
The calendar is packed with different leagues around the world, and the fear remains that younger players will be tempted by readymade millions, rather than the grind of international cricket.
“It is fair to be concerned, but young players also have to be careful. You can easily get lost in the wilderness out there, and come back to find that your spot has been taken up by someone who has been waiting. It is a fine line, but the big guns like Davey will always attract attention, because his record speaks for itself.”
Morgan added that he anticipated Miller to be a regular figure at Kingsmead, even when he is not playing: “He is that type of guy. I am sure he would even come and watch some matches, if he has the time. He is a big part of our white-ball plans.”