DAVID MILLER has handed Yorkshire a boost ahead of today’s Twenty20 Cup quarter-final by revealing that he would like to return to the county as an overseas player.
Miller, whose swashbuckling heroics have played a key part in Yorkshire’s surge to the knockout stages, said he had so enjoyed his time at Headingley Carnegie that he would jump at the chance to come back.
The 23-year-old South African was signed specifically as a Twenty20 specialist but admitted he would love to play a full season if the opportunity arose.
Yorkshire’s first-team coach Jason Gillespie has already hinted he wants to establish long-term links with overseas players, highlighting the way in which his great friend and former Australia team-mate Darren Lehmann had several spells in Yorkshire’s colours.
It remains to be seen whether similar ties are forged with Miller and fellow overseas recruit Mitchell Starc, the Australian pace bowler who has made another favourable impression, but Miller has clearly been bitten by the Yorkshire bug.
“If Yorkshire offer me another contract, another year, I would love to take it on,” he said.
“We will have to see what happens in the future and which way they want to go, but I would definitely like to return.
“At the moment, I’m here for the Twenty20 Cup quarter-final and also for Finals Day if we get through, but I’ve loved every minute of my time with the club.
“I’ve only been here about a month but everyone at Yorkshire has been brilliant and made it a lot easier for me coming in.”
On the evidence of what we have seen so far, Miller is one of the world’s most destructive Twenty20 batsmen.
He tops Yorkshire’s averages with 221 runs at 36.83 and has a strike-rate of 149 runs per 100 balls.
However, as much as he loves blazing the ball to all parts and scattering spectators with savage six-hits, Miller is keen to show he is no one-trick pony.
He wants to improve a first-class record that stands at 1,466 runs from 35 games at 28.74.
“I’m keen to show I’m not just a Twenty20 player,” said Miller, who heads off to Ireland shortly to join the South Africa A tour from which he would then be released for Finals Day in Cardiff on August 25.
“I’ve only played a small number of first-class games and I want to improve that figure and get my average up. I really enjoy that form of the game and I’ve got a lot to prove in first-class cricket.
“That’s why I’d love to come back to Yorkshire because the fixtures over here are so tight and crammed in that, as a batsman, you get the opportunity to bat pretty much every day and to develop your game.”
Miller’s work ethic and willingness to improve persuaded him to take up Yorkshire’s recent offer.
He could have spent the off-season twiddling his thumbs and going through the motions but felt he would be much better served playing abroad.
The left-hander also has one eye on furthering his international career.
He has already played 16 one-day internationals and eight Twenty20 internationals, averaging around 30 in both formats.
“I basically had a choice of staying at home and working on my game and also on my fitness in the gym, or of travelling abroad and getting in game-time,” he said.
“It’s been a busy off-season and I’ve clocked up a few air miles, but I’ve enjoyed every minute.
“Obviously I want to play a lot more for my country and I’m just trying to get as much experience as I can. Coming to Yorkshire can only be beneficial.”
The feeling is mutual. For with Miller and Starc at their disposal, the county have been irresistible in the Twenty20 group stages, winning seven of their 10 matches – the best record of any team in the country.
However, the fact they go into today’s match at Headingley (4.15pm start) as favourites to reach their first Finals Day is the product of a genuine team effort.
And it is why Miller believes that if Yorkshire can beat Worcestershire, they could not only win the cup but go on to succeed in the Twenty20 Champions League, which takes place in his homeland in October and features the two English finalists plus eight of the world’s top Twenty20 sides.
“Obviously we need to take care of the quarter-final first and we can’t afford to get ahead of ourselves,” he said.
“However, if we could go on, I think we could do really well in the Champions League.
“Twenty20 is all about what happens on the day and you can have all the top names in the world but it’s really about who rocks up and plays as a team. We’ve been playing as a team and the potential is there. I’ve been fortunate to play in the IPL and that was a great vibe and experience,” he added.
“But the Champions League would be just as good and give our guys a taste of playing in the IPL.”
Yorkshire squad (from): Gale (captain), Ashraf, Bairstow, Ballance, Jaques, Lyth, Miller, Patterson, Pyrah, Rafiq, Rashid, Root, Starc, Wardlaw.