Back in his heyday, you could sense the impending carnage when David Miller walked out to bat. However, IPL 2021 may still see Miller struggle to nail his spot in the playing XI for the Rajasthan Royals. He was a notable absentee when the Royals took the field last year and featured in just one game.
Prior to his stint with the Rajasthan Royals, David Miller was a vital cog in the Punjab Kings (then known as Kings XI Punjab) where his explosive batting was a match-turner. The South African southpaw was instrumental before a dismal couple of seasons saw his time with the franchise come to an end.
It was an all-time low for David Miller, who mustered a paltry 83 runs from five matches in 2017, and followed it with an equally shocking 74 runs from three games in 2018.
Is David Miller an integral part of the Rajasthan Royals' plans?
The fact that the Rajasthan Royals have signed him up indicates that teams believe David Miller can still be a valuable asset in the IPL. However, the question is whether Miller will be able to nail down a consistent starting spot or have a stopgap season of sorts.
With the likes of Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler and Chris Morris in the side, it could be tough to slot Miller into the side. All four players are potential locks and that means Miller will have to be prepared to warm the bench unless the think-tank decides to throw him in the mix.
And while he may not be the Miller of old, who boasted of a staggering 164.5 strike rate in 2013, there's still enough in the 31-year-old to change the game and bend it to his will.
After a decent CSA T20 Challenge earlier this year and a couple of fifties against the T20Is against Pakistan, Miller's batting exploits were on full display and the Royals will be aware of the purple patch the batsman is in at the moment.
An in-form David Miller is also crucial for the Rajasthan Royals' middle-order stability. With Butler, Samson and Stokes occupying the top positions, a relatively inexperienced middle order could offer Miller a path into the side. Promoting Stokes to the top gave the team some firepower early on and should there be a collapse of sorts, David Miller's presence in the middle means having a sense of stability.
Quite simply, Miller's been retained for a reason. He may not be the blitzkrieg batsman he once was, but he's not waned out either and that's good news for the Rajasthan Royals ahead of IPL 2021.