Miller: ‘I’ve really enjoyed challenging myself against the PSL death bowlers’

South Africa miller criticizes his devotion to the Multan Sultans, data-driven analysis, taking mental health breaks, and more. The holiday season brings international matches in all formats and a plethora of franchise leagues, making December the busiest month of the year for international cricketers. Yet, in December 2022, David Miller was nowhere to be found on a cricket pitch.

On Christmas Eve, he uploaded a photo of himself unwinding at a nature reserve in his home South Africa, as the South African side was gearing up for the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, and the Big Bash League, where he had played for the Hobart Hurricanes, was gaining up the pace. Miller has mainly avoided cricket since South Africa was knocked out of the T20 World Cup in November, with the exception of an 11-day spell at the T10 League in Abu Dhabi.

David Miller on PSL death bowlers

Miller has established and fostered hobbies outside of the game despite being one of the most sought-after players on the T20 circuit, with fishing and photography being two of the more notable ones. He needed the break he took at the end of the previous year to spend time with his family and friends since the months that would come would be some of the busiest of his professional life. Five days separated the SA20 semifinals in Johannesburg from his first PSL match in Multan.

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He had been chosen captain of the Paarl Royals in the inaugural season of the SA20. Days later, he would join the Multan Sultans. Having only played three PSL games previously – for Peshawar Zalmi in a curtailed season in 2021 – he was given a baptism of fire, thrust in chasing 10 runs an over at the finish against a Lahore Qalandars bowling attack that comprised Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, and Zaman Khan. The SA20 had several difficulties because he was playing in a league in which he had no prior expertise.

Miller has devised strategies to deal with the schedule and the various demands that each event places on him. Miller told ESPNcricinfo, “I think it’s all mental. It’s important to be ready for what is ahead. I knew I was heading to the PSL after the SA20. I’ve been mentally preparing myself for this trip for the past few months since I knew I was heading there. I took time off in December to spend time with family and friends, had a great break, and felt renewed for the ensuing six months.

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Moving from one area to another might be difficult, but as long as you are psychologically ready before the competition, it is much simpler to perform well. “Cricket is played a lot currently, both globally and in organized leagues. Your schedule can get quite busy. Particularly at this point in my career, I just pay attention to my body. I don’t want to play cricket so much that I am psychologically exhausted.

Simply pay attention to your body and recognize when a break is necessary. To be very honest about that. There’s a lot of money involved in cricket nowadays. Hence, it’s crucial to make informed selections regarding whether you actually need a break or whether you can continue.” We’re beside the swimming pool at the posh Pearl Continental Hotel in Lahore on a nice early March afternoon.

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After the return of international cricket to Pakistan in 2015, it has become the preferred site for all PSL teams and any visiting sides due to its tightly secured, fortified complex status. With the T20 franchise circuit blending into a flurry of flights, hotels, lavish opening ceremonies, boundaries, and wickets, he could theoretically be anywhere—India, South Africa, or Bangladesh. His international teammate Rilee Rossouw described it as being like being a “T20 gun for hire” in a previous interview with ESPNcricinfo.

Miller accepts the label, but he still refers to himself as a “team player”. He notes that many teams are purchasing rival teams all around the world given the direction that leagues are now moving in. “Therefore, you do feel a connection to particular teams. I’ve always believed in giving every game my all, no matter who I play for. I’m a good team player, and I do rapidly warm up to a group of people. It’s simply about providing support for that team at the time for that team, and I like playing for all the teams I do.”

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Miller wanted to push himself even though he was aware of the PSL’s unique qualities. Although he only played in three games during his last PSL stint with Zalmi during a Covid-hit season, the indicators were positive and he amassed 116 runs at 140. A few days prior to our conversation, he had crushed a 25-ball 52 against Islamabad United to set up a significant victory against the two-time winners. “From my perspective, the wickets in Pakistan are actually rather decent.

I believe that the bounce may differ slightly from that of other nations where it is slightly lower. Not a steep, sharp bounce, either. You can strike through the line and ensure your body is in the proper place if you can get used to the bounce. “Over the years, I had caught tidbits of the PSL, and what I learned from that was that the bowling was excellent. Pakistan usually generates exceptionally good quick bowlers. Also, they have top-notch spinners.

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It’s a terrific competition to be a part of as an international hitter. It presents difficulties in a variety of ways. With the sort of death bowling they have and the pace they have as a country, it definitely helps the PSL stand out for me. That truly puts you to the test, and I really like being in a position to test my abilities.” Miller joined the PSL at a point in time when one ideological struggle had already been decided in favor of one side or the other, and he now represents that team.

Islamabad United was one of the forerunners of an analytics-heavy, data-driven approach to team recruiting and in-game decision-making in the early years of the league, prioritizing batting fluidity and ideological flexibility to optimize match-ups between certain hitters and bowlers.

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