The South African has been found guilty of not applying and adapting in different conditions © Getty Images
The South African has been found guilty of not applying and adapting in different conditions © Getty Images

South Africa have been a strong team since they came back into the fore in 1991-92 after the deconstruction of apartheid. They reached the semi-final, and looked impressive before bowing out to England in the most dramatic fashion. Since then, they have done remarkably well across formats, from time to time, but still have not won any major ICC event since ICC Knock-Out 1998. They have the talent engrossed in them; they were never short on athleticism; they have provided some of the finest all-rounders in the history of the sport; but somehow cricket fraternity does not get to see their best consistently. Recently being out of favour, David Miller has turned 27 today and fits in the example of such players who start off well and somehow lose the plot in the middle. ALSO READ: Albie Morkel: Perfect example of a modern day all-rounder

No doubt, Miller is a talented youngster and come into picture because of his famous and successful IPL stint with Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in 2013. His 101 runs off 38 balls against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) was a top-class innings where he went bonkers on every bowler from the opposition camp. He quickly came into news thanks to this insane knock and followed it up with some handy contributions the next season as well to help his IPL franchise reach their maiden final. He was not new in the international front, having represented his nation in limited-overs formats and had shown that he was capable of clearing the fence, batting down the order, with ease. ALSO READ: Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers: A club of mutual admiration

Miller debuted against West Indies in the shorter versions of the game and kept coming up with valuable contributions with bat down the order. He was marked out as a finisher. While the role of a finisher is not confined to hitting from ball one, Miller has not done a quality job when his the team loses half the side inside 25-30 overs. In other words, he is not known to play long innings. In their opening match of the ICC World Cup 2015 against minnows Zimbabwe, JP Duminy and Miller mend things for the Proteas and notched up centuries. However, this knock came against a low-ranked team and he was not pitted against a tough bowling line-up. Barring this match he has seldom raised his hand when the team has struggled to gain momentum in the middle-overs.

His average against some top teams like Australia, New Zealand and India stand, at a below par 32.60 (2011-2014), 19.62 (2013-2015) and 21.44 (2011-2015) respectively. This will not take him anywhere. His teammate, the often-criticised Farhaan Behardien, showed maturity in adapting to the situation with a composed 62 runs off 82 balls the other night.

Miller’s overseas record is a modest 34.20 and he needs to pull up his socks before it gets too late. South Africa have already started seeing other options as they have replaced recently injured Rilee Rossouw with Dean Elgar from the ongoing Tri-Nation series in West Indies. This decision may backfire for the Proteas as Elgar averages 24.50 from 6 games. Miller would probably have been a better choice as he has a good record in the Caribbean.

Nonetheless, Miller has not been in form lately. He had a forgettable campaign with his KXIP in IPL 2016, and was sacked midway as captain. He has not done anything significant for his national side after a good World Cup in 2015. With the amount of talent, power and variety of strokes he possesses, he is not doing himself a favour by playing flashy cameos.

There is no shortage of talent in South Africa. To ensure a permanent slot Miller needs to get more consistent, adapt and apply well to show his true potential.

(Aditya Sahay is a journalist with CricketCountry who is completely into sports and loves writing about cricket in general. He can be followed on Twitter at adisahay7)