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The iconic Keith Miller: A tribute

417   //    28 Nov 2017, 14:01 IST

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Keith Miller

In 2006, Australian writer Roland Perry wrote a book on Keith Miller titled "Miller's Luck". He simply used the famous legend associated with the great all-rounder as the title of the book.

The defining experience of Miller's life was not playing Test cricket for Australia. In fact, it came a few years before he made his debut for Australia.

He was on duty with the RAAF from January 1942 and was flying Bristol Beauforts and de Havilland Mosquitos on various cross-channel raids. One day, at Bournemouth, his bar was bombed and the occupants were killed; but, with luck on his side, Miller was playing cricket at Dulwich.

On another occasion, nier Kiel Canal, his Mosquito's incendiary tanks had failed to release but Miller somehow survived that as well. These incidents were enough to give birth to the legend of 'Miller's Luck.'

Poor seasons in 1948 and 1948-49 helped the selectors leave Miller out of the 1949-50 tour to South Africa. But they could do nothing to 'Miller's Luck' as Bill Johnston suffered a freak accident and Miller was called in as a replacement.

Australia won the first two Test matches but in the third, at Durban, they were in trouble after each team batted once. South Africa scored 311 and in reply, at the end of the second day, the Aussies managed only 75.

That evening, cricket writer R.S. Whitington encountered a rather cheerful Keith Miller in the lobby of the hotel.Miller greeted him and said, " I hope you haven't been stupid enough to write off our chances in your story to Australia?" When Whitington replied that he hadn't filed it yet, Miller added, " I'm sorry for Dudley Nourse (the South African captain). He's going to have the whole nation down on him like a ton of bricks when South Africa lose."

Whitington was amused: "When they lose? If they lose, you mean. You're still 236 behind." "We're going to win and you'd better say so. You'll probably be the only pressman who does. Just think of the feather that will be in your cap." He even offered £5 on an Australian win. Whitington declined. He knew all about 'Miller's Luck'.

Neil Harvey scored a superb 151* in the fourth innings and Australia won the match by 5 wickets.

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