Proteas batter David Miller says there will be flexibility in his World Cup role
Senior Proteas batter and fielder David Miller is not feeling added pressure due to the absence of retired batting mainstays AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis, Hashim Amla and JP Duminy.
Miller is part of the Proteas top and middle order - the other members are captain Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, the hugely improved Aiden Markram, Reeza Hendricks, Rassie van der Dussen and Heinrich Klaasen - that must deliver runs during the T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman in the coming days.
The Proteas get their World Cup campaign going against Australia in Abu Dhabi on Saturday where Bavuma, De Kock, Van der Dussen and Miller will be desperate for a good start with the bat.
“Personally I don’t think there is any extra pressure [because the above-mentioned retired batting mainstays are no longer there]. When I play for South Africa I have always felt like there is an expectation,” Miller said as SA prepared to take on Pakistan in their last warm-up match on Wednesday.
“There is a certain amount of pressure regardless of whether you are junior or senior. That is always going to be there and it is always about how you embrace it. For me this is a great opportunity for a lot of us to put our hands up in that department.”
Miller said the Proteas have played a predominantly set squad over the past few months where they won T20 series against the West Indies, Ireland and Sri Lanka, and the players understand their roles.
“We have had a relatively set squad now for the last couple of months, and in terms of our roles everyone is filling in really nicely. You are always going to miss those kinds of players who are not here any more, but I suppose that’s the way of life.
“It gives new opportunities to other players to take on that role, hopefully it is for the better, but it’s just a good opportunity for us to do the job.”
Miller has performed various roles in the batting order and there is going to be flexibility on how he is going to be used in the UAE and Oman.
He said the IPL had shown how important the middle overs are in T20 matches.
“It is about extending that middle overs phase, controlling it and we have done really well in the last couple of months in doing that. It really does give you a good platform for the last five overs.
“With regards to my role, I feel like if we lose a couple of wickets up front it is a nice opportunity to bat more overs, but I think we all have to have an open mindset in terms of flexibility, because T20 creates different opportunities and scenarios all the time.
“The thing is just being open-minded in the sense that I could go in the ninth or tenth over depending on left and right combinations or the spinner with the short boundary, I know there is a bit of options there.
“I have taken the role of finishing for a couple of years now and I feel comfortable in that role. It is not the easiest role to take on but it is something that I have enjoyed doing for the team.
“I think it is probably going to be pretty much the same in that regard but a little bit more flexible this time around in that there may be opportunities that I go in a little bit earlier.”