David Miller holds an international cricket record he would prefer not to have. No one has played more international cricket without playing in a Test match than Miller.
The hard-hitting left-hander has played in 274 white-ball internationals. The nearest contender for the non-Test record is retired West Indian Keiron Pollard on 224.
“I would have loved to play a Test, but it is what it is,” says Miller, 34. I’ve achieved quite a lot in my white-ball stuff and I'm grateful to have played so many games.”
Miller has built a solid first-class record, averaging 36.32 in 63 matches, with six centuries, which he backed up with electrifying fielding.
But it was a time of plenty in a South African Test batting line-up which included Jacques Kallis, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis, while white-ball cricket was becoming ever more prevalent -- and lucrative.
In 2018, nearing his 30th birthday, he retired from first-class cricket.
“I wasn't being picked, even for the South Africa A side. There were guys ahead of me so I decided to concentrate on the white-ball stuff.”
He is in demand from franchises around the world -- playing for 22 different representative teams -- and a crowd favourite in South Africa where supporters wave banners proclaiming ‘Killer Miller’ and It’s Miller Time’.
He is one of only four players who has scored more than 3,000 runs in one-day internationals with an average above 40 and a strike rate above 100. The others are De Villiers and England’s Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow.
He is renowned for hitting big sixes and has cleared all three grandstands on different sides of his home ground at Kingsmead in Durban.
Recently he hit a ball out of the ground against Australia at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg.
An off-the-cuff comment he made after an Indian Premier League game is quoted regularly: “If it’s in the arc it’s out (of) the park, if it’s in the vee it’s in the tree.”
“That came from my dad,” he says.
Andrew Miller was a good club cricketer who played for Natal Country Districts. It’s not all big hitting, though.
Batting at number six in a side without established all-rounders, Miller will likely be in situations at the World Cup where he will have to take responsibility for rebuilding an innings.
“It’s about summing up the situation. Sometimes you are batting with the lower order and you have to decide with your partner at the time how you are going to go about it.
“It’s like a chess game at times. You are thinking about moves and what’s important and what’s not. It’s about making clear decisions. It helps your execution when you are fully committed.”
Both sides of Miller were on display when South Africa had to win the last three matches of a recent home series against Australia after losing the first two. In the fourth match he thrashed an unbeaten 82 off 45 balls as he and an inspired Heinrich Klaasen added a scarcely believable 222 off 94 balls for the fifth wicket.
In the deciding match, in trickier conditions, he made a more measured 63 off 65 balls to enable South Africa to get to a defendable total after a difficult start.
“The World Cup is very open,” he says. “We’re a pretty experienced team.
We’re capable of doing it, so it’s a matter of getting the basics right for longer periods of time.”