His IPL captain Hardik Pandya might sport a wry smile while reading this but star South Africa batter David Miller too wants to end a world title drought for his team by maintaining his remarkable consistency in the new year. Miller had a year to remember as he contributed immensely to Gujarat Titans’ title winning effort on IPL debut besides shining in South African colours.
In the 16 T20 Internationals he played in 2022, Miller struck at a rate of 164.84, including scoring a hundred and two half centuries against India. In 12 ODIs, he averaged 57.80.
Speaking to PTI ahead of the inaugural SA20, where he will captain Paarl Royals, Miller said his focus is on maintaining the consistency he showed in the last 12 months.
“As a sportsman you always try to be consistent. Finding out what works for you through pressure situations and try to do that more often than not. Looking into this year, I want to make sure I am in a good mental space and be nice and clear with my plans.
“I want to stay consistent, whatever team I am playing for. It is a busy international calendar but I have got some good time off in December so feeling refreshed and revitalised for the new year,” said the destructive southpaw.
While India last won a world title in 2011, South Africa have struggled to win one since they returned to international cricket in the post apartheid era in 1991.
India T20 skipper Hardik has already said that there can’t be anything bigger than winning the World Cup at home and Miller too wants to win it for the Proteas.
“We haven’t managed to win one yet but the end goal is to strive towards the World Cup. It is one of the biggest trophies going around and we have exciting players in the white ball set up coming through.
“I am certainly looking forward to that World Cup. There is still time left but I have added that to my new year resolution,” he said referring to the ODI World Cup in India in October-November.
‘IPL changed our lives, SA20 will benefit local players hugely’
All six teams in the SA20 are owned by successful IPL franchisees and their presence gives much-needed stability to the event, feels Miller. Cricket South Africa launched T20 leagues in the past but with little success.
“We have been wanting to have something like this. I you look around all the leagues that are happening, it always benefits the local players, the international players coming around and playing and they get to gain experience.
“The IPL owners are involved. They have a very successful product in IPL in the last 14-15 years. The teams are very experienced in what they want and how the event should be run.
“They are getting involved in different leagues around the world. It seems the way at least T20 cricket is going. South Africa is a great place to play cricket with a good time zone and good weather. It is going to be a successful product.
“Having the owners from India, it becomes very lucrative for the local players as well.” Like IPL was life-changing for him, the SA20 could do the same for the young cricketers at home, said Miller.
“As a South African you always want to play for your country, it is the biggest honour for me. In terms of changing one’s life you can definitely do that in the IPL with the financial benefits coming with it.
“It (SA20) will change a lot of local lives as well. It gives them additional income outside their domestic contracts. it is surely a win win,” he added.