Rising star David Miller offers glimmer of hope in a Dolphins season gone adrift

2010-02-23 00:00

WHILE the Dolphins have struggled to get anywhere in this season’s Standard Bank Pro20 Series competition, there has been a distinct glimmer of hope that has risen through the ranks.

David Miller has not so much introduced himself to the world, but rather bulldozed his way into the attentions of anyone interested in local cricket.

He hits the ball with a refreshing brutal bash, and people are starting to notice.

Blessed with the happy knack of depositing balls into the stands — and out the ground — with consummate ease, Miller has had a stellar season already, despite playing in a struggling team.

“I would definitely say that this season has gone very well,” the 20-year- old understated to The Witness yesterday.

Certainly, Miller’s burgeoning ta­lents this season have put him strongly into the increasingly large pot of possible Proteas of the future.

It says much for his temperament that the left-hander has managed to keep a cool head under trying circumstances, but he is not about to let one good season go to his head.

“It’s great that I have been able to make strides this season, but I really want to kick on from here and then we will see what higher honours come,” he explained.

Miller’s rise has coincided with the return of Graham Ford to coach the Dolphins, and he is quick to doff his cap at the relentless former Protea and Kent minder.

“I actually worked with ‘Fordie’ from since I was in standard six, so I have a great understanding with him.

“Having him back has really helped me, and I think he is one of those coaches who invests a lot of time into his players,” Miller enthused.

Ford’s countless throw-downs have had the desired effect on the Maritzburg College product, with Miller adding handsomely to his maiden Supersport Series hundred with consistently crucial contributions in the Dolphins’ passage to the final of the MTN40 Championship.

Even in that final, the game was not dead with Miller still at the crease.

His 46 off just 30 balls included a frightful pair of sixes against a largely international attack, and Miller reckons he thrives on the pressure.

“I think it is important to try and keep things simple at that level, and I have definitely worked on keeping my game as simple as possible, whatever the situation.”

That stunning simplicity now makes Miller one of SA’s budding starlets, and he will need to be at his best as the Dolphins significantly shuffle their pack.

“It’s been interesting having a bunch of new guys coming in,” Miller revealed.

“I guess you could say there is a different energy, or enthusiasm, around the change-room. It’s also forced me to take a look at my position within the team, because I am now one of the more senior players in terms of experience.”

That added responsibility didn’t seem to hinder him during a sparkling 90 not out off 52 balls against the Lions last Friday, in the Dolphins’ final Pro20 game for the season.

“Friday was definitely my best knock of the comepetition, and I felt very good out there. The ball was finding the middle, and it was nice to help the team out of a bit of trouble.”

Indeed, the Dolphins have their problems — on and off the field.

The recent axing of five senior players points to a new way of thinking, and Miller’s plans to go to the UK for the winter have been hit out the park by Ford’s proposed boot camp for the whole squad in the winter.

Not that he is complaining.

“I think it’s necessary and, while I would have enjoyed the experience of playing in another country, the Dolphins are my first priority,” he said.

“It sounds like it will be hectic, but I think the guys are looking forward to the hard yards.”

The franchise is looking to the future, and the rise of the likes of Mil­ler is the desired speck on the horizon.

Miller the brand may be better known as a form of drink, but the exploits of this young buck may soon give national selectors some serious food for thought.

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