MOST consider him a magician with the ball, but Nikita Miller has also proven that he can be just as lethal with the bat.
Miller, who describes himself as a student of the game, has been called upon to plough the Jamaica Franchise team out of a difficult position on a number of occasions with bat and ball in the Regional Four-Day Professional Cricket League.
Miller signalled his intentions in the first game of the season against the Windward Island Volcanoes, where he led with an unbeaten 57 and then claimed four wickets in the first innings.
Subsequently, the right-handed batsman who bowls slow left-arm orthodox spin, made a patient 40 runs and took seven wickets to lead the team to a 38-run win over Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel.
And his rich vein of form continued in the recently-concluded game against the Leeward Island Hurricanes. Miller contributed 62 runs in the first innings and returned to claim three wickets to help set up Jamaica’s four-wicket victory.
“I am happy with the performances so far this year; I have been working hard, it’s just a matter of having a game plan and sticking to it. The aim of any player is to put in the work in practice and execute on game day, so I have been doing that so far, and hopefully I can continue in that vein,” Miller told the Jamaica Observer.
“I think I am a student of the game; I try and get as much as I can from all the experienced guys, or those who played over the years and try and retain most of that information… I will work on those areas in practice and try as best as possible to execute in the middle. So I must say it’s experience and the learning ability that will help in the middle,” he pointed out.
Despite setting a high standard for himself, the lower-order batsman remains modest and still wants to be considered “a bowler that can contribute with the bat”.
“It is a hidden talent. I have been told many times that I am capable of batting [and] I know that I am capable of making good scores at this level. It’s just a matter of expressing myself in the middle thinking out particular situations and execute on a given day. So it is just a matter of me continuing this form and try to help my team get a big total coming down lower in the order,” he explained.
The 32-year-old, who hails from St Elizabeth, has so far accumulated 178 runs and taken 17 wickets in three matches, revealed that he relishes pressure situations.
“I have never struggled in terms of pressure; I am somebody who thrives under pressure. I like the pressure situations and I have built my game around that. If you look at my role as a bowler, when things are difficult I am the one they call on, and when the team is under pressure I will go and play my role because I was prepared for it,” he declared.
“The mindset is basically to stay calm and think clearly, look what is happening… understand the game situation and work it out with my partner at the crease. A level head is always needed at that time and I executed efficiently during that period and came out on top.
“It gives you confidence knowing that when you go on the park your teammates are looking for a good performance from you. It is always good to know that I can help the team in both areas in difficult times. As an individual, once you have the backing of your teammates, it only can drive you to do well,” noted the soft-spoken player.
Miller was named leading wicket-taker in the 2007-08 first-class season, a feat which he is focused on repeating. His best bowling figure is eight for 41, with his highest batting score being 86.