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David Miller skips IPL opener, says beating Netherlands is first priority for Proteas

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The Gujarat Titans will aim to defend their IPL title this season and their journey starts with Chennai in what will be a season opener. David Miller was a key player in Gujarat Titans winning the league.

David Miller of South Africa after reaching his 50 during the 2nd match of the 2023 Betway ODI Series between South Africa and England held at Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein on 29 January 2023. Picture: Frikkie Kapp, BackpagePix

Gqeberha – The Proteas need to beat the Netherlands in two weeks time to avoid the Zimbabwe World Cup qualifiers, and the team needs all players committed to the team rather than the Indian Premier League.

The Gujarat Titans will aim to defend their IPL title this season and their journey starts with Chennai in what will be a season opener. Miller was a key player in Gujarat Titans winning the league.

We’ve seen players in the past leave for the IPL instead of fulfilling their national duty but Miller, recognising the importance of the Netherlands series, has chosen to stay home and miss the first game of the season.

Miller admitted his disappointment of not being available for the first IPL game and also told the media the Gujarat owners were probably upset at first.

“They were, I suppose really upset,” said Miller on Monday.

“It’s a big thing playing in the opening game against Chennai. It’s disappointing to miss that but to put on the green and gold, for me it’s always a huge privilege and honour. We’ve got some work to do in those two games against the Netherlands. I think having our strong team, the best squad that we can pick, it’s definitely the way forward.

“It will be nice to only focus on that.”

The West Indies series doesn’t affect the qualification to the World Cup, which meant Rob Walter could rest Miller for the first two ODIs, to give youngsters opportunity to showcase their skills at the highest level. As a senior player, Miller has a duty to show the youngsters how it’s done.

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“It was great to see the new guys coming in to just get a taste of international cricket. I think it’s really healthy at the moment with the standard that we’ve got. I think it’s just a matter of time before all these new guys come in and start performing at their best,” said Miller as the Proteas prepare for the third and final ODI.

“I’m really excited for tomorrow to just add the experience. I just want to make the most impact that I can on and off the field to the new guys in the squad, to just boost the guys in the field and just recognising moments in the game that I’ve seen more often than they have. To keep that communication throughout the game and keep the guys nice and calm.”

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Miller is match fit heading into Tuesday’s encounter despite missing out in East London. He should hit the ground running having recently played in the Pakistan Super League where the standard is very high.

“I really felt like the bowling and standard of cricket was really good. It was great to compete out there just to see the raw pace bowlers that they have.

“There were probably two bowlers in each team who have 145 (kph), 140 plus in their ammunition. It was a really good and challenging competition.”

@imongamagcwabe

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