Paarl Royals skipper Miller expects SA20 opener at Newlands to be ‘humdinger’ | Sport


South African batter David Miller

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  • Paarl Royals captain David Miller believes Tuesday’s SA20 opener against MI Cape Town will be a humdinger at a sold-out Newlands.
  • The inaugural SA20 gets under way from Tuesday with Miller set to lead the Paarl Royals in the Cape derby.
  • Miller hopes to use the star-studded experience in the Royals’ dressing room as they vie to replicate Rajasthan Royals’ inaugural IPL win.

Proteas star batter David Miller expects Tuesday’s SA20 opener between MI Cape Town and Paarl Royals at Newlands to be a “humdinger”.

The inaugural SA20 gets under way at a sold-out Newlands on Tuesday as MI Cape Town face Paarl Royals in a Western Cape derby.

The first season will feature 33 matches as six co-owned Indian Premier League (IPL) teams vie for R70 million in prize money, with the final set for the Wanderers on 11 February.

Award-winning performers Master KG and Sho Madjozi will headline Tuesday’s SA20 opener with a mini-concert set to take place before the first ball is bowled.

“It’s going to be a humdinger. There’s going to be a lot of excitement around the players, it’s been built up for a long time,” Miller told reporters on Monday at the captain’s pre-press conference.

“I think everyone is pretty keen to get on the park and express their skills and what they have to offer for the Capetonians.”

READ | Faf hopes SA20 helps restore public faith in local cricket amid ‘dark times’

The Paarl Royals boast an experienced team coached by former Proteas all-rounder JP Duminy.

Miller will share the dressing room with England’s World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler, a feat he calls a “privilege”. 

Miller, who led the Punjab Kings a few times in the IPL, says he hopes to lean on the English duo for captaincy tips.

“We’re privileged to have the two captains (Morgan and Buttler) there and the experience that they have is invaluable for our squads,” said Miller.

“I haven’t been captain too many games in my career, but I’m always wanting to learn and trying to improve my game and that’s with captaincy as well.

“To have those guys alongside me, it would be silly not to use all of their experience so I’m looking forward to that.

“It (captaincy) grows on you and it builds a lot of character in one’s game and I’m looking forward to the challenge. Having guys like that makes a huge difference and they’re already contributed a big amount in the lead-up to tomorrow’s game. [I’m] very pleased to have them [here].”

The Rajasthan Royals, under the late Shane Warne, won the inaugural IPL title in 2008.

When asked about the significance of the representing an IPL-winning side, Miller hopes they can recreate the same magic for the Paarl Royals.

“Yes, it has been brought up. When you win a trophy, they don’t really forget about those too quickly,” joked Miller, who helped the Gujarat Titans to the IPL title last year.

“But there’s no pressure to be honest with you. I mean, at this stage there’s always expectation on the players and on the team, so it’s nothing more than we haven’t kind of experienced before.

“It’s about how you deal with that and your thought process and how you’re going to go about it. So just pretty excited about tomorrow and to hopefully take a take another trophy this season.

“But there’s a lot of steps that’s got to take place beforehand, just sticking to the process, enjoying ourselves as much as we can. You know, ticking all the boxes that we can, and hopefully that leads us to winning the trophy.”

Play starts at 17:30 in Cape Town on Tuesday.

Paarl Royals squad:

David Miller, Jos Buttler, Obed McCoy, Corbin Bosch, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi, Jason Roy, Dane Vilas, Bjorn Fortuin, Mitchell van Buuren, Wihan Lubbe, Ferisco Adams, Imraan Manack, Evan Jones, Ramon Simmonds, Eoin Morgan, Codi Yusuf

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