Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Opinion: Miller's white-ball focus a sign of drive or desperation?

Opinion: Miller's white-ball focus a sign of drive or desperation?

Fielder throws cricket ball in

David Miller has shelved his red-ball career in a move designed to help him be at his best for the 2019 World Cup. 

Miller was never able to string together the first-class form to warrant selection in Test cricket - and most would have given him little chance of playing the ultimate format before the 2015 World Cup. That begs the question - why now?

His batting form in ODI cricket has all but hit rock bottom. Miller averages just 21.33 in nine ODIs this year. His decision appears to be motivated by a desire to do intensive work on his white-ball skills rather than managing his workload.

Miller has not shown any dire technical weakness, apart from often demonstrating a lack of patience, but he has found it hard to make consistent contributions from number five or six. His place in the team has been preserved because everyone knows that Miller can tear an attack apart on his day.

He is the type of batsman who should thrive in English conditions and, if he makes the World Cup squad, will be expected to provide acceleration towards the back-end of the innings. Miller will likely also be asked to perform the role of consolidating, should the top-order go hard and fail.

The build-up to the World Cup should be spent determining whether Miller can produce the goods on the biggest stage of them all, under intense pressure.

The South African public will view anything short of winning the World Cup as an abject failure. That may not be fair, but it is the reality. That means that the Proteas need to pick players prepared to play under that burden.

Looking ahead, it is impossible to tell whether the World Cup in 2019 will be the ignoble end to a career that promised much but failed to deliver for Miller, or if it will prove to be the cherry on the top of the career of a Proteas white-ball legend.

The ODIs against Pakistan in early 2019 will be crucial in determining the left-hander's readiness for the World Cup. A poor series might see Miller denied the opportunity to turn his career around with success at an ICC tournament.

If Miller is at his best, then the Proteas can't possibly leave him out, but if he has run out of steam, his replacement needs to be found as soon as possible.

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Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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