Proteas' Miller weighs up whether to continue until 2027 World Cup
David Miller was unsure whether a home World Cup in 2027 would be on his agenda following his second painful loss in a semifinal, this time to Australia at Eden Gardens on Thursday night.
Miller, 34, was one of the stand-out players for the Proteas with his innings of 101, giving them hope of making history and becoming the first South African men’s team to play in a World Cup final.
It was ultimately snuffed out by the Australians, who bowled and fielded better to earn a spot in Sunday’s showpiece in Ahmedabad against host nation India.
“It’s just very frustrating,” said Miller. “You want to get to a final and have a crack at the trophy, but it was not to be for us.”
South Africa were bowled out for 212, a total they admitted was at least 40 runs short of the target they wanted.
It represented a recovery from 24/4 when Miller arrived at the crease, after superb opening spells from Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc.
Miller explained how he and Heinrich Klaasen, with whom he shared a partnership of 95 for the fifth wicket, had been preparing for a scenario in which the top order failed.
“After the first couple of games I said to Klaasy that we need to keep training with the new ball, because there would be a stage where we’d be in the dwang, so stay sharp.
“The next game was against Netherlands and we were 30/4,” Miller smiled. “It was really enjoyable going all the way through and anchoring the innings. I really felt like I wanted to hit fours and sixes the whole way through, but I just soaked up pressure.
“It was more about the partnership at that stage. Every run counted, it's a semifinal, we tried to salvage some sort of total…it was really cool to be out there.”
Once the winning runs were struck, there was more disappointment for South Africa to absorb.
Miller and head coach Rob Walter described a very quiet South African change room in the aftermath of the defeat, although Miller, who played in Auckland in 2015, said it didn’t feel as devastating as that loss against New Zealand.
“There were a lot more tears in Auckland. It's not a great feeling — hollow. It’s been such a great campaign. Individuals have stood up and done exceptional things, we fought together as a team and to lose this is really frustrating,” he reiterated.
Miller said he was unsure about his international future. A popular target for T20 Leagues around the world, he could copy Quinton de Kock and quit the ODI format.
“Shoo, with how my body feels right now, I can't answer that,” he said in response to a question about playing in the 2027 World Cup in South Africa. “I’ll see how I go. I will take it year by year and see how it goes. It is a long way out from that, and it's difficult to say.”
The Proteas will head back home on Saturday having created many good memories, said Miller.
“This game, your career can go by quickly, so we just wanted to enjoy the journey. We can definitely look back and say it was a great time, although it doesn’t help losing the semifinal. The guys showed a lot of character throughout the tournament and tonight.”
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