Only lim­ited Miller time

Pow­er­ful Proteas left-han­der has pulled the plug on his red-ball cricket ca­reer

Cape Argus - - SPORT - LUNGANI ZAMA @WHAMZAM17

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.”

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