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This Miller stays in the V

india Updated: May 09, 2013 02:08 IST
Kaushik Chatterji
Kaushik Chatterji

Outside the railway station in Pietermaritzburg is a statue of a historic figure. The unveiling coincided with the centenary of an event that ultimately resulted in India attaining independence. It was 120 years ago when he was thrown off a train at that station that Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi became the Mahatma.

Just a mile or so away from the railway station is a school that, at least during this time of the year, can claim to have a strong Indian connect of its own. After all, the Maritzburg College is the alma mater of three people who, in various capacities, have had a strong influence over the fortunes of three teams in this season of India's domestic T20 league.

Delhi Daredevils never really recovered from the loss of Kevin Pietersen. The success of Mumbai Indians is due in no small measure to what Jonty Rhodes has brought to the table - or, rather, the field. And Kings XI Punjab are hoping against hope for a revolution that is not in the least bit Gandhian, all thanks to the sheer brutality of one David Miller.

"Growing up as a young boy, he told me to enjoy myself," said Miller of his dad, a club cricketer during his youth. More specifically, he was told, 'If it's in the V, it's in the tree; if it's in the arc, it's out the park.' Miller took the saying quite seriously, and still refuses to indulge in risky improvisation. "I like to play good cricketing shots," says Miller. "I don't think of myself as a slogger."

Best strike rate
That hasn't proven to be a drawback - his strike rate of 173.39 is the highest for any batsman who has faced 50 or more deliveries this season.

Three-fifths of his runs have come in boundaries; four-fifths, in front of the wicket; all 20 maximums have been in the V.

"Hitting the ball straight is my strength," says Miller. "Presenting the full face of the bat gives you the best chance of hitting the ball."

As a kid, he was encouraged to take up as many sports as possible. So he tried hockey, rugby, tennis, squash and football.

Given that some of his sixes have had the yardages of a great tee shot, golf is conspicuous by its absence. He says it happened later. But has he swung a club in India yet?

"I haven't," he says. "Our (KXIP) manager, a keen golfer, has been saying he wants to organise a round. Three years, he still hasn't done that!"