David Miller spoilt for choice in the Champions League

2014-07-30 00:00

DOLPHINS batsman David Miller is spoilt for choice. At the upcoming Champions League tournament in India — September 13 to October 4 — he can either turn out for the Dolphins or the Kings XI Punjab, his IPL franchise.

Having won the domestic Ram Slam T20 last season, the Dolphins automatically qualified for the competition. Miller was instrumental in bringing the trophy to Durban, enjoying a consistent competition.

He finished the leading run-scorer in the competition with 383 at 47,87 at a strike rate of 153,20. Those who were there won’t forget his unbeaten 93 from 37 balls at Kingsmead in the semi-final against the Titans, which included nine sixes.

Naming their 20-player squad earlier this week, the Dolphins included Miller. The squad has to be whittled down to 15 by August 15 and by then, according to KZNCU, Miller’s team will be confirmed.

“No decision has been reached yet. He has been nominated in both squads and, ultimately, he has the final say in his choice,” said KZNCU CEO Jesse Chellan.

However, Chellan added that should Miller play for Punjab, then an amount, which cannot be disclosed, will be paid to the Dolphins by the IPL franchise.

“To be honest, we are planning for the competition without him and have taken a pragmatic approach,” he said.

Miller acknowledged he had signed for both teams but was “unsure of how it all worked”.

“I’m not too clued up on all this but there is still a month to go where this should all be sorted out. All I know is I will be playing in India again, where I have a decent record, and it’s all great experience.”

Looking at the Dolphins’ preliminary squad, it’s clear to see they are looking ahead, with some young talent on the list.

Speedster Darryn Dupavillon, who made his debut for the senior side last season, is joined by SA U19 players Andile Phehlukwayo and current SA U19 captain Sibonelo Makhanya.

“This provides a new opportunity for players of colour,” said Chellan. “It’s encouraging to have this talent on our doorstep and they definitely fit into our long- term planning.

“Playing on the sub-continent will be invaluable experience for them.”

Imran Tahir, who returns this season for a second stint at the Dolphins. and new signing Ryan McLaren, were not considered for selection. Mthokozisi Shezi, who has joined the Cobras and was eligible to play for the Dolphins in India, was also discarded in line with Chellan’s views on looking at long-term investments.

The Dolphins have their work cut out for them. They are drawn in group A with the Kolkota Knight Riders (2014 IPL winners), the Chennai Super Kings (two-time IPL winners), the Perth Scorchers (Australia’s Big Bash winners) and a qualifier. The qualifiers come from one of the Lahore Lions, Mumbai Indians, Northern Knights (New Zealand) and Southern Express (Sri Lanka).

Group B is the Kings XI Punjab, Cape Cobras, Hobart Hurricanes, winners of the West Indian domestic T20 competition and a qualifier.

The Dolphins start their quest on September 20 against the Scorchers, in Mohali.

Dolphins Squad: Andile Phehlukwayo, Darren Dupavillon, Imraan Khan, Kyle Abbott, Robbie Frylinck, Cameron Delport, Daryn Smit, Jonathan Vandiar, Kyle Nipper, Sibonelo Makhanya, Cody Chetty, (David Miller), Keshav Maharaj, Morne van Wyk, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Craig Alexander, Divan van Wyk, Khaya Zondo, Prenelan Subrayen, Yusuf Abdulla.

Fixtures: September 20 — Perth Scorchers, Mohali; September 22 — Chennai Super Kings, Bangalore; September 27 — Qualifier, Bangalore; September 29 — Kolkota Knight Riders, Hyderabad.

David Miller Ram Slam T20 (2013/14):

Matches 12, Innings 12, Balls 250, Not Out 4, Runs 383, HS 93*, Avg 47.87, Strike Rate 153,20, 4x50, 29x4, 19x6. Top run scorer in the competition.

IPL 2014:

Matches 16, Innings 16, Not Out 6, Balls 299, Runs 446, HS 66, Avg 44.60, Strike Rate 149,16, 3x50, 34x4, 21x6. Seventh highest run scorer.

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