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IPL 2020

IPL 2020: I can contribute a huge amount to Rajasthan Royals, says David Miller Filed on September 7, 2020
Rajasthan Royals' South African star David Miller during a net session in Dubai. (Supplied photo)

David Miller shot into the limelight in 2013 with a match-winning 38-ball century against the Royal Challengers Bangalore

Having spent eight seasons at the Kings XI Punjab, David Miller is now hoping to start his new innings at the Rajasthan Royals with a bang.

During an interview with Khaleej Times, the destructive South African left-hander who shot into the limelight in 2013 with a match-winning 38-ball century against the Royal Challengers Bangalore opened up on embracing his new team amid a pandemic.

A new team and a new environment due to the Covid-19. How are you preparing yourself for the challenge?

It's nice to meet new people. It's a very refreshing start for me. Also, I am preparing myself in the circumstances due to the Covid-19, we have cordoned off a section in the beach area in our hotel, we are not allowed to move around too much. It's more about your room, team room, and then obviously training. I think in terms of focus, it gives us the perfect chance to prepare really well.

Can you tell our readers how you kept yourself busy in the quarantine period at the Rajasthan Royals team hotel?

Kept myself busy during the quarantine period, spending a lot of time in my laptop, just thinking about few things and doing a bit of research and then obviously a bit of movies, series and definitely been working out everyday. Just staying fit, and staying up to date. Yeah I was just refreshing my mind and keeping it nice and rested.

You were in very good form for South Africa in T20 cricket, before the pandemic brought everything to a standstill. How much will that form motivate you in the IPL?

Feeling really good (about my form) with South Africa in T20 and one-day cricket. I think all of us are definitely in the same boat in the sense that there has been no cricket due to Covid. It's something that we have to deal with, mentally just sort of getting our heads around. There is nothing much we can do in terms of the momentum that I am going to take from how I was playing. It's a good time to reflect about certain things, though, about my career, things that I wanted to do and change and look back and how I could have done better. So it has given me time now to put it in action moving forward. Now obviously new team, with Rajasthan really keen to put in some good performances, when I get my chance, I really feel like I can contribute a huge amount in this team. I have been with the Kings XI for a long time, then moving here, it's a refreshing start for me. I am looking forward to it hugely.

Rajasthan Royals have an intimidating line-up: Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Steve Smith, yourself. And Jofra Archer will spearhead the bowling...

Definitely, it's a very strong team and the guys have always done well in the past. So I don't see why not in terms of challenging for the title this season, definitely, that's always something we want to achieve, and that's definitely one that we want to do.

You have played nine ODIs and four T20Is in the UAE. Do you think the conditions will be similar to India?

I have played a bit in the UAE, and I think the pitches are generally really good. I don't know this time of the year, with all the heat and I haven't played here for some time. I think preparation-wise, the training nets have been really good, so I don't think it's going to be bad wickets at all, I think it's going to be a good IPL with loads of runs.

Will it feel a little odd to play a tournament as big as the IPL in front of the empty stands because top international players like you are used to playing in packed stadiums?

I think it will definitely feel a bit odd to play in a competition with no crowd. But moving forward, I think it's definitely something we need to get our heads around. I don't think it's going to change much, the guys are still hugely competitive and the games will certainly pan out the same way, but yeah definitely it feel a bit odd with no spectators.

Your strike rate in ODIs is over 100. That's phenomenal considering you have maintained that over 132 matches. Naturally, you are such a dangerous batsman in T20s. What's the secret to your power hitting? Is it natural ability or a combination of talent and the hours spent in the nets?

I think having a strike rate of over 100 in one-day cricket, it's because of the position (in the middle-order) that I have come in most of time. It's been great, but it's definitely a lot of training, working out the swing pattern. I think I do have a natural swing (of the bat) that makes a big difference, but it's definitely a lot of hours in the nets, grooving that swing and becoming a positive player, rather than a tentative one.

You are one of the finest finishers. But there must have been some bowlers that have troubled even a free-flowing player like you in the death overs...

I have faced a lot of bowlers in the back end (of the innings), I think for me, there are two bowlers that have been really difficult to get away in the back end of the innings. Jasprit Bumrah, his skills, the pace that he generates and he does nail his yorkers. Very, very skillful. Wahab Riaz, he is much of the same, you know. When the ball is reversing, he is a handful. When his tail is up, he bowls heavy balls. So those are the two that stand out for me.

Young South African players like Janneman Malan and Kyle Verreynne were hugely impressive against Australia in the last limited overs series as you guys beat Australia. It must be hugely inspiring to see these young players grab the opportunity after the retirement of a few stalwarts?

In South Africa, we always seem to produce good cricketers, so just to see the young cricketers coming through and do really well in that series against Australia has definitely a positive move for us. We always pride ourselves in big performances, and for youngsters to step up is what we want. It definitely holds us in good stead and long may it last! There are a lot of other youngsters still breaking through as well and it is always good to see these guys contributing. It's healthy and we have got a good thing going in the Proteas set up, so very exciting times.




Rituraj Borkakoty

A big fan of the Argentina national football team, Rituraj generally writes on sports. But he deeply cherishes the time he spent with his favourite musician from Assam, India, for an interview. And he loves to bring human interest stories to Khaleej Times readers.

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