Some people would pay good money just to watch David Miller in the field. The way he swoops about the outfield, chasing down the unchaseable, efficiently untangling himself into strong throwing positions, delivering those throws fast, flat and fully on target is a sight to behold. And that’s without considering the difficult catches he makes look simple.
But it’s as a blazing middle-order bat that Miller earns his keep, and while he has more than got the job done in competitions like the Indian Premier League he has less to celebrate at the higher international level.
It took him 55 ODI innings to score his first century, against West Indies at St George’s Park in January 2015 — which is partially explained by the fact that at that stage of his career he had batted above No 6 only 11 times. Another salient point is that, in that time, he missed 38 ODIs. So Miller has a legitimate gripe that he has not been given a fair number of playing opportunities. He has less of a case for fulfilling his long-standing ambition to play Test cricket, what with only six centuries in his 99 first-class innings.
Even so, there are few more masterful blasters of a cricket ball in the modern game, and Miller does much of his blasting down the ground. When he kicks into gear, as he did to hit 13 fours and a six in his career-best 139 in Hobart in November 2018 to earn a victory for South Africa in the deciding match of an ODI series against Australia, few are better to watch.
But, as with JP Duminy, Miller is in danger of being remembered for not living up to his potential. The 2019 World Cup is a priceless chance for him to put that right.
To do so he will have to deliver consistently and accept the responsibility for steering a fractious middle order towards calm, clinical performances more often than not.