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


South African batsman David Miller

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  • Paarl Royals captain David Miller believes Tuesday’s SA20 opener against MI Cape Town will be a feat in a sold-out Newlands.
  • The inaugural SA20 kicks off on Tuesday and Miller will lead the Paarl Royals in the Cape derby.
  • Miller hopes to use the star-studded experience in the Royals’ locker room as they battle to replicate the Rajasthan Royals’ inaugural IPL win.

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

The inaugural SA20 kicks off on Tuesday in a sold-out Newlands, as MI Cape Town takes on Paarl Royals in a Western Cape derby.

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

Award-winning artists Master KG and Sho Madjozi will headline Tuesday’s SA20 opener with a mini-concert that takes place before the first pitch is bowled.

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“It will be a feat. There will be a lot of excitement around the players, it has been building for a long time,” Miller told reporters on Monday during the captain’s pre-press conference.

“I think everyone is pretty excited to get out on the park and show their skills and what they have to offer the Capetonians.”

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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, an achievement he calls a “privilege”.

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

“We are privileged to have the two captains (Morgan and Buttler) there and the experience they have is invaluable to our squadrons,” said Miller.

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“I haven’t captained too many games in my career, but I always want to learn and try to improve my game and that also applies to the captaincy.

“If I had those guys next to me, it would be stupid not to use all their experience, so I’m looking forward to that.

“It (captainship) grows with you and it builds a lot of character in your game and I’m looking forward to the challenge. Having guys like that makes a huge difference and they’ve already contributed a lot leading up to tomorrow’s game. [I’m] very happy 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 representing an IPL winning side, Miller hopes they can create the same magic for the Paarl Royals.

“Yes, it’s been brought up. When you win a trophy, they don’t forget it that easily,” joked Miller, who helped the Gujarat Titans to the IPL title last year.

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“But there’s no pressure to be honest with you. I mean, at this stage there’s always expectations from the players and the team, so it’s nothing more than what we haven’t 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 hopefully grab another trophy this season.

“But there are a lot of steps that need to take place upfront, just stick with the process, enjoy it as much as possible. You know, tick all the boxes we can, and hopefully that will lead us to take the trophy.”

The game starts in Cape Town on Tuesday at 5.30 pm.

Selection Paarl Royals:

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