Excited to be playing in Paarl, expect the team to bounce back: Paarl Royals’ skipper David Miller

Royals Sports Group-owned franchise Paarl Royals could not start off their inaugural SA20 campaign on a positive note with a loss in the opening match in Cape Town, but skipper David Miller feels playing for the first time at home will certainly help the side on Friday.
The Royals are set to open their account at Boland Park tomorrow as they host Joburg Super Kings and the South African swashbuckler is sounding confident.
“I think being at home will be nice. It is a big ground where there will be a lot of twos and a lot of running, and we need to be clever about the way we approach our innings. The wicket is always nice, and it’s mostly slower than the other ones, but it’s consistent. I believe we’ve got all the departments covered and now it’s just about going out there and entertaining our fans at home, who I know will be supporting us with immense passion,” said the 33-year-old.
Commenting on his opponents Joburg Super Kings, Miller said, “I think every team is competitive and really strong, so we just got to be really onto it from the start and make sure that we tick all the boxes, and control what we can control as a team.”
Having captained South Africa to a T20I series win in England and then also leading Barbados Royals in the CPL, Miller has excelled in the captaincy role in the short span but believes he’s got a lot to learn. “It’s always an honor to lead a team, but I still feel like I’ve got a lot to learn in terms of captaincy. Here at the Paarl Royals, I couldn’t have asked for a better squad to be there for me, with the senior players around me that I have, there’s enough experience and knowledge to tap into. We have a fantastic vibe in the group and I’m just looking forward to a brilliant season ahead.”
“Of course with experience, you get to learn how to deal with those 50-50 calls when there’s not much time to decide. But I think I’m learning to trust my gut a lot more. As far as my approach is concerned, I am kind of relaxed and laid back, but at the same time, I expect and demand a lot of commitment from the team and want them to always be competing in all aspects of the game,” added Miller.
Miller also spoke for the first time about the squad his side has been able to put together this SA20 season. “I think it’s very balanced. It seems to be a cliche word with all the teams, but I genuinely feel like we’ve covered all bases. We’ve got a lot of matchwinners which is key in T20 cricket. Now it’s about finding our rhythm and getting that momentum on our side with a win against the Super Kings, who did win their first game.”
The inception of the SA20 has brought a lot of hope to the nation, and Miller believes only good things are in store for South African cricket. “I’ve said it many times. I think it’s going to be one of the best things that’s ever happened (to South African cricket). You’ve got overseas players and world class coaches coming in, working with our players and local coaches – raising their level. So, in terms of a package, I don’t think it gets better for the younger guys to grow and to learn and fast track their learning. This is definitely going to be the best stage for them,” added the left-hander who is close to completing 9000 runs across T20 cricket.
“The league has got great players and very competitive teams, so that means the level of cricket is going to be really hard, which then creates a lot of pressure. And ultimately, it’s about playing and thriving in that pressure. So, I think it’s going to do wonders for the country, and I think the next 5-10 years are going to be really, really exciting,” he added.
Since the start of 2021, Miller has scored over 700 runs in just 28 T20I innings at a strike rate of 157.22, remaining not out on 14 occasions, and also amassed 481 runs in 16 matches in IPL 2022. The consistency in his game is visible and the batter believes it’s down to being more comfortable with handling the pressure. “I don’t think I’ve changed much, but the thing that stands out for me is that I understand my game a lot better. I am also pushing myself to be consistent and being a pillar for my team in every situation. As an athlete, you are always learning and wanting to get better, but I think the biggest difference is that I’m more comfortable with handling the pressure, and I’m always of the mindset that I can excel in every situation,” said Miller.
Preparing for the game tomorrow, Miller revealed that his challenge to the squad is for each player to be hungry on the field, and always look to get that ‘player of the match’ award. “I always want my team to be dominating every single game. Alright the first game didn’t go as planned, but I want the team to be giving their all on Friday and entertaining our fans at the same time,” signed off Miller.

Paarl Royals will face Joburg Super Kings on Friday, January 13, 2023 at Boland Park from 13.30hrs South African Standard Time (GMT+2) and 17.00hrs Indian Standard Time.

News Desk

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