The Standard Bank Proteas are keen to get their tour of India off to a winning start as they gear up for their first T20 international encounter against their hosts at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharamshala on Sunday.
The tour consists of three matches across three different venues (Dharamshala, Mohali and Bangalore) that boast different conditions, but David Miller believes that the team is more than up to the challenge. He is backing the experience that each team member has of playing in India in their different capacities either from a national or South Africa A or emerging team perspective.
“A lot of the guys have played for the A side and have recently been over here playing cricket before we arrived,” he commented during the pre-match press conference this afternoon. “A lot of the guys have played in India before even if it’s not necessarily for South Africa but for the A side and other groups that have come here, so they are experienced in playing in these conditions. Looking at the three venues that we’re playing at, I think they are going to be good conditions. We’ve prepped really well and I think the guys are just really eager to go out there and play good cricket.
The tour is South Africa’s first for the 2019/2020 season and Miller is excited by the changes that the new-look team comes with. Former Imperial Lions coach Enoch Nkwe and Quinton de Kock were named Interim Team Director and T20 team captain respectively ahead of the outing and Miller believes that the changed leadership and personnel bring about a lot to look forward to in the transitional phase that the Proteas are navigating their way through.
“It’s exciting times. New skipper, new players and coaching staff and a lot of young fresh faces,” the explosive batsman continued. “It’s been really good so far and hopefully we’ll do really good things out there on the field tomorrow. Quinton’s been around for many years and he’s got an incredible cricket brain and I’m looking forward to helping him out in whatever manner he needs me to.
“There’s a new phase in South African cricket at the moment and it’s exciting times. We’ve been training really hard the last 10 days or so and I think everyone is eager to get the games going and test ourselves. We’ve come to win and we want to make a mark and really show what we’re capable of.”
When asked about the pressures that come with becoming a senior player and informing his own knowledge and experience on newer players, Miller said:
“I feel, when playing for your country, there’s always a lot of responsibility, regardless of whether you are less or more experienced in the side. I’ve been playing for many years now and that responsibility has been with me for a couple of years now and it’s really exciting. There’s a lot of good things to look forward to, it’s a young side. We’ve got a lot of energy around the squad and there’s a lot of guys who have a lot of experience having played a lot of cricket whether for the A side or domestically so you almost find that you don’t have to speak much on conditions, more on the cricket itself. We’ve got a really excited group of guys here and we all feel like tomorrow can’t come soon enough.”
The first T20 will be broadcast live on SuperSport 2 at 15:30 (SAST).
T20 international series fixtures
Sunday, 15 September: 1st T20I vs India – Dharamshala
Wednesday, 18 September: 2nd T20I vs India – Mohali
Sunday, 22 September: 3rd T20I vs India – Bangalore
Standard Bank T20I squad: Quinton de Kock (Multiply Titans, capt), Rassie van der Dussen (Imperial Lions, vice-capt), Temba Bavuma (Imperial Lions), Junior Dala (Multiply Titans), Bjorn Fortuin (Imperial Lions), Beuran Hendricks (Imperial Lions), Reeza Hendricks (Imperial Lions), David Miller (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Anrich Nortje (Warriors), Andile Phehlukwayo (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Dwaine Pretorius (Imperial Lions), Kagiso Rabada (Imperial Lions), Tabraiz Shamsi (Multiply Titans), George Linde (World Sports Betting Cape Cobras).