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A risky option?

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Boucher believes Miller will not find keeping easy even if he has to do it for only part of an innings

David Miller of SA during the recent International T20 Series match against Sri Lanka. Picture: Muzi Ntombela BackpagePix

Mark Boucher remains sceptical about the ploy proposed by Proteas captain Faf du Plessis to use David Miller as the national side’s back-up wicket-keeper at this year’s World Cup.

Earlier this season Boucher was roped in by the South African team to give Miller, what Ottis Gibson described, as a “crash course in the basics,” but Boucher believes Miller will not find keeping easy even if he has to do it for only part of an innings.

“It’s interesting,” Boucher said about the decision.

The ploy became public towards the end of the One-Day series against Sri Lanka, when Miller took over behind the stumps in the fifth ODI. He then kept wicket for the entirety of a T20 innings in the first match of that series in Cape Town.

“I don’t think he had a bad game in the T20, I would like to have seen him keep in the super over because that’s the kind of pressure he will face in England,” said Boucher. “David’s a very good fielder. Can you change him overnight to become a wicketkeeper? No.”

Most importantly Boucher mentioned was where the World Cup was taking place.

“It will be difficult for him to keep in English conditions.”

Over the course of his career Boucher always stated that keeping in England was toughest because the ball moved late and appreciably once it went passed the the stumps.

“Hopefully he doesn’t break a finger while he’s keeping, that would be a double whammy.”

“It’s not my baby to look after. Gibbo as coach and Faf as captain, if they are thinking that’s what they want to do then they must do that.”

Gibson has not entirely dismissed the idea of taking a back-up wicketkeeper to England saying after the T20 series with Sri Lanka that the topic was still open to discussion with the selectors. But given that his and Du Plessis’ favoured candidate for that spot, Heinrich Klaasen failed to make an impression when given chances in the last 12 months, and that no other players were tried extensively, it does look increasingly likely that Miller will do the job should Quinton de Kock be temporarily sidelined in England.

“He’s not going to do it for 11 games, it might be a one off, but we are giving ourselves that option,” Gibson said at the time.

Boucher would rather it didn’t happen. “Hopefully when we get to the World Cup, Quinny doesn’t get injured and we can see him play throughout the whole game and tournament,” he said.