David Miller proves he is vital to Protea side

2015-01-27 00:00

ALTHOUGH the Proteas lost by one wicket to the West Indies in the fourth ODI in Port Elizabeth on Sunday, the match will be remembered for David Miller’s maiden ODI ton for the Proteas.

The Maritzburg College old boy finally rewarded his band of loyal followers and believers — plus his own faith — with an innings of maturity and class, paving the way for more massive moments in a cricket career beginning to take root and sprout.

He’s only 25 and should have another decade of top-drawer cricket left in him at least. On Sunday, he put to rest any talk of him still being a hard-hitting youngster in the squad and crossed the bridge to maturity.

Seen as a finisher in the squad, a left-handed batsman coming in during the middle-to-back overs of the innings to add momentum to the scoring and lift the total to a decent target, Miller defied the odds at St George’s Park, coming in after 6.2 overs and the Proteas tottering on 32-3. Just under 44 overs later, he walked from the field undefeated on 130 from 133 balls, having lifted the Proteas to 262-8.

“For the past two years, I have been working hard on my game, believing I would reach three figures for the Proteas,” he said. “One of my main areas of attention was focusing on rotating the strike. I tend to hit too often and think I proved a point on Sunday with the way I played my innings.”

Indeed he did. While he acknowledged he battled to rotate the strike when he first came in, he soon settled down, finding his groove and rhythm.

“I was more nervous at the start of my innings than when I was in the nineties,” he said. “For me, it was about getting that opportunity to bat for nearly 50 overs. I came in early and had time to settle, sum up the conditions and situation, then concentrate on building an innings.”

It was a timely knock by Miller who could be key for the Proteas and their World Cup ambitions. His innings had added some bite, some respect, something concrete to the Protea middle order and he now knows what he is capable of by playing consistent, proper cricket strokes.

“It’s all about doing it for the team,” he said. “As for the World Cup, this innings was obviously just what I needed before it all starts, but I am ready to give of my best.”

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