DUBAI: Rajasthan Royals‘ newest signee David Miller feels that most of the players might take some time to get going in a match situation as they have not played the game due to coronavirus-induced lockdown.
The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 is scheduled from September 19 to November 10 in the UAE across three venues — Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah.
In an interaction with ANI, Miller opened up about his hopes from the upcoming edition of the tournament, and how excited he is about sharing the dressing room with the likes of Steve Smith, Jos Buttler, and Ben Stokes.
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Miller had earlier played for Kings XI Punjab but for this edition, he was picked up by Rajasthan Royals for Rs 75 lakhs. So far, the left-handed batsman has played 79 matches in the cash-rich league, managing to score 1,850 runs at an average of 34.25.
When asked about his hopes from the upcoming IPL season, Miller said: “I would like to do well obviously for the Royals and help the team notch up a few wins if possible. The aim would be to obviously get set as quickly as possible and score some runs out there. The hope is to contribute to the team’s cause and start off well, performing consistently throughout the tournament and making the most of this opportunity to play for Royals.”
“We have been through intense training sessions in preparation for the IPL but match practice is something that comes to you when you are actually there in the middle of a game. So yeah, I feel it will take some time to get going in a match situation but hard training would reduce that acclimatisation time for a match,” he added.
The Rajasthan Royals squad has been training hard and the franchise also participated in some intra-squad matches to be in the best possible shape ahead of the tournament.
“The training’s been good, it’s been off the optimum intensity keeping all the details in mind. The matches obviously help, it was good to get an outing on the pitch in a match situation of sorts. Important that we go through the different phases of a T20 game both with the bat and on the field. The matches are helping us get better, polish the final bits of our preparation, and enabling us to work on certain nuances in the match situation before the IPL kicks off,” the 31-year-old said.
When asked about his excitement to share the dressing room with the likes of Smith and Buttler, the Proteas replied: “I am looking forward to playing with them at this year’s IPL. I’ve got a lot of respect for all of them as opponents and am eager to join them on the field. It’ll be interesting to see how they sort of prepare for the game and the mindset these guys have when are out in the middle.”
‘Killer Miller’ is the nickname that has stuck with the swashbuckling Proteas batsman after he played a match-winning knock of 101 for Kings XI Punjab against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 2013 edition.
Talking about the same, he said: “Yeah, the name’s (Killer Miller) been around for quite a while now. Pressure? Not really. I mean there’s always pressure when you’re playing international cricket and the stakes are extremely high but after a point, you just get used to it and learn to deal with it. For me, it’s about playing my natural game and scoring runs for the team. The intent is always there to score quickly in this format and that’s how I like to play with — intent and a positive mindset.”
Recently, the Proteas international gave a remark that he wants to be a finisher like former India skipper MS Dhoni and further reiterating his point, the 31-year-old said: “For MS there are plenty of qualities that stand out, I feel his reading of the match-situation and figuring out how the game could possibly turn out in the end. His calmness in those tough moments during a run-chase wherein others might do something crazy, it’s amazing really. He manages to take the team along which is so important during an innings and so impressive. All of his qualities as a batsman are pretty good and I’d love to probably depict all of those in my game. I think more than anything I would love to see games through for my team, take it to a position from where we can win games, and put the opposition under pressure.”
Off late, all international sports have witnessed a change as players are now required to stay in a biosecure bubble as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus.
When quizzed about his experience of staying in this bio-secure environment, Miller said: “It’s a different challenge for sure. The six-day quarantine wasn’t too bad for me, I was able to train a bit in the room and spend my time watching some movies and Netflix. Right now I think we’re all enjoying practicing, spending time with the team, having some fun at the beach. Right now it’s just good to play cricket and we’re all excited for the IPL. I guess it could get a bit more taxing as we move towards more and more cricket in such bio-bubbles with a number of days in quarantine. But grateful that we are able to do what we love the most.”
The 31-year-old also highlighted as to how sports psychologists will become important if players are constantly required to be in a biosecure bubble.
“Being confined in a bubble, the players may need some sort of psychological help through experts. It’s important to stay in the right frame of mind, and I think the experts could help the players in being in the right frame of mind for when they get on the field,” said Miller.
When asked as to what makes IPL a completely different beast from the other leagues that exist in the world, Miller signed off by saying: “I feel the IPL is a step up in quality. The competition for places is quite intense and as an international player, you really need to prove yourself to get into the playing XI. There’s quality throughout the squad means you need to be at your best at all times really. There’s quality in every team which makes it a tough and quite an even competition. Also, the passion and energy from the Indian fans during an IPL season are unparalleled, and as a cricketer just makes you want to play and do well in front of the loud fans who’ve come to watch you.”

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