David Miller Had A Killer 2022! But Can He Continue The Fireworks This Year Too?
“If it’s in the V, it’s in the tree!” And usually, the ball does end up there!
This isn’t some generic statement, rather, a statement of fact pertaining to the killing machine that is David Miller. The statement, though fear inducing for bowlers of the world, connotes a simple modus operandi about a batsman who’s as daring as he is uncomplicated.
And it conveys his rather uncomplicated batting style
See the ball, hit the ball.
That’s David Miller- brutally honest and honestly brutal.
Someone who knows how to whack the cricket ball a great deal and someone whom some of the best in the business have seen smash the pulp out of the white-ball.
You know you are a success in T20I cricket if you operate at a strike rate that is over 130. And you know you’re not doing too bad if you end up averaging above 30 in the shortest form of the game.
To that end, David Miller in 2022 proved to be a mauler for the bowlers.
But how so?
Not only did the dashing South African manage a strike rate that was north of 160, he averaged 60.17, to be precise.
In firing- not accumulating- 361 from 13 innings, Miller ensured the Proteas had the upperhand in most of the contests in which he exhibited sterling form.
Severity against India
As a matter of fact, it did seem as though he batted with tons of resentment against India, firing at Guwahati a 47-ball-century, an effort during which he pounded 7 sixes at the end of which he eventually stayed unbeaten registering a strike rate of 225.
But that wasn’t all; in the mother of all T20 battles, i.e., the 2022-bound T20 World Cup, Indians ran into David Miller again and the brave leftie smashed a 46-ball-59 taking legends like Ravichandran Ashwin and company to the cleaners.
He would, once again, emerge unbeaten thus proving to be the great nadir of a quality Indian bowling that simply appeared clueless-nothing else- when confronted by Killer Miller.
But implicit in David Miller’s 2022 T20I efforts was the one thing most batsmen find quite hard to manage.
In thirteen of his outings last year, Miller remained unbeaten at the crease on seven separate occasions.
In a format that is all about big hits and more often than not, hits and misses and holding out into the deep, to have stayed not out for well over five occasions was big deal.
Not that it was heartily acknowledged.
Though fact be told, it’s not that David Miller excelled only in short-form cricket for his Protea side. In one day internationals too, the experienced left-hander notched up nearly 300 runs from just nine outings with the bat.
Hitting 289 runs, to be precise, from 9 innings, Miller once again found the sweet spot of his bat doing the talking, dealing in fours and sixes with glee irrespective of who bowled to him; whether an Indian, Englishman or a Bangladeshi.
But there again, the ability to go big whilst preserving his wicket proved to be the differentiator
In four of his nine appearances for the Proteas in limited-overs cricket in 2022, David Miller remained unbeaten a the crease. Meddling with mindsets of bowlers and infuriating spinners and medium pacers alike, Miller’s useful fifties, such as the 79 off 57 helped his side take the game deep against Bangladesh at the SuperSport park even if that knock ended in a losing cause.
Though, it was his incredible effort on October 6, 2022 at the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana stadium in Lucknow that blew apart India; an inning that laced with three sixes and five fours culminated in 75 precious runs, which ultimately took South Africa to a position of ascendency against India.
A Rabada and Ngidi show in the end ensured a clean victory for the Proteas, something that was deeply cherished by tons of fans back home.
Though what set Miller apart from his peers on that occasion was that he managed to stay not out even in that knock.
Frankly speaking, Miller’s calm batting mirrors his personality
True to the philosophical quote that directs a man to find calm in the chaos, David Miller is quite the calm handler of crises himself.
He’s seen generations change, politics intervene with the sport back home in South Africa and witnessed constant chops and changes in a sport that stirs emotions like few other things in South Africa do.
Having played around legends like AB, Steyn, Philander and Morkel to being the bedrock of the lower order during the time of Faf du Plessis (at the helm), here is David Miller, unsullied by the changing vagaries of time, continually assassinating bowlers with an almost zen-level calm. What else would Bavuma, now at the helm of leadership want?
But a thing must be said. What he’s done in 2022 is behind him and while it shouldn’t be forgotten, David Miller’s exploits from the last year must continue in 2023 if he’s to inspire the Protea fire.