David Miller’s transition and the Zulu effect

KXIP batsman credits Klusener for development of his game finishing ability

Mohali 12 May 2013
When one talks about the best finishers in IPL 2013, besides the usual suspects, a new name makes an entry. And like most good finishers, the impressive factor about him is that he is equally adept at pacing his innings to the ‘T’ when coming up the order.

Based on the performances this IPL, David Miller can surely be placed in the class of MS Dhoni and AB de Villiers when it comes to versatility. If his 101* off 38 balls against RCB told us anything about the 23-year-old South African, it was that he is a marathon runner and not a slog-a-thon freak. The straight hits, proper technique and the ability to build his innings before going for the stands – it was all an indication that Miller is capable of playing in multiple gears, just like Dhoni and de Villiers.

It should hence, come as no surprise that Miller started out as a top-order batsman and was moulded in the middle-order role since he started playing professional cricket. That’s when he developed his big-hitting, to cater to the slog-overs’ needs. But as he says, “I like to see myself as batsman and not a slogger. It’s something I take pride in”.

In a chat with, Miller spoke of his transition from an anchor to a finisher and how Lance Klusener helped him on the way.

Do you see this IPL season as the turning point of your career?

Yes, definitely. I have really enjoyed the opportunity to play for the franchise. For me personally, I’ve really enjoyed batting on the Indian wickets. It’s a very different experience from what I’ve had back home in South Africa and you learn so much along the way. In 2011 I didn’t get a game and the last year I only got six games. In IPL only four overseas players can play at a time.

Have you always fancied striking the ball big or is it something you developed along the way?

I think I’ve developed that along the way. Growing up I used to bat a lot higher up the order and so had to get through the new ball. Now that I’ve gone down into the middle-order, I’ve had to develop the stroke-play to adapt to the role.

An important aspect of batting in the middle-order is finishing games. How did you develop that aspect of your game?

I’ve been fortunate to have Lance Klusener as my coach since the last season and he has played an immense part in nurturing the finishing aspect of batting. He’s just helped me a lot with my confidence. Also, as I have been playing professional cricket I have learnt a lot from the ex-players, trying to gather all the information and using it in my game. While chasing, there are these couple of things that I do.

I’ve realised that even at the end of the innings, you’ve got more time that you think. Out there in the middle everyone sort of rushes and there’s a lot of pressure around you. That’s when you need to calm yourself down and believe that you have enough time on your hands. What also helps me is looking at the number of balls rather than overs that are left. 60 runs from 36 balls sounds a lot easier mentally than 60 runs from six overs does. Another important thing is to practice in such a way that when the ball is in your hitting area, it must go. You will get such balls during the end overs of a chase because the bowlers are under pressure too. If you can hit out, that will release the pressure.

Who do you think is the best finisher in cricket today?

MS Dhoni has shown how good he really is over the last couple of years and he is probably the best in that regards right now.
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