HAVING seen significant improvements in his performances in all formats of the game last year, Jamaica Tallawahs spinner Nikita Miller is eying more success in the upcoming Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Twenty20 tournament.
The 33-year-old has so far taken 11 wickets from 20 innings at an average of 35.54, with an economy rate of 6.01. With his best figures so far being 3-17 against Antigua Hawksbill last year, he explained that he is making steady progress ahead of the June 20-July 26 tournament.
“I have been preparing myself; it is going well slowly, but going well and I am confident that I will do well. I have been doing some specific work and hopefully that can assist me in improving on what I did last year.
“Last year was an improvement from the first year for me, and I am hoping to do even better this year. So the plan is to continue to improve and if I can improve on last year, then I am sure that I will play a major role in assisting the team to win the title,” he told the Jamaica Observer while on a tour of St Elizabeth recently.
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”.
The left-arm spinner, who hails from St Elizabeth, was hardly called upon to do much with the bat and only has four runs to his credit thus far.
But, ironically, he remains optimistic that the trend will continue, as he expressed confidence in the firepower of the team’s top- and middle-order.
“I am hoping — not being negative in anyway — but I am hoping that I don’t get the chance to bat. The last time we won the tournament I didn’t get much of a bat, I batted only twice and we lost the games on both occasions.
“But, if it comes to the point where I need to contribute, then I am prepared to play my role. So I am not leaving anything for granted, and I am preparing myself so that if I am called upon to make a contribution with the bat, I am well equipped to do so,” he explained.
Miller weighed in on the addition of former Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene, as he recollected the franchise’s victory in the inaugural season when they had the likes of Sri Lankan wicketkeeper/batsman Kumar Sangakkara.
“The last time we had a Sri Lankan batsman in our team we won the tournament. He (Mahela) is a very experienced and top-class player, so we are looking forward to him contributing in a big way for us in our title hunt,” he noted.
“I think this is a very well-balanced team; we have some hard-hitting batsmen as well as batsmen who can steady the middle order. So with all that experience and combination, I think our team this year is much stronger than it has ever been and I am very confident that we can go all the way,” Miller added.
The Jamaica Tallawahs will start their campaign against champions Barbados on June 23 at Kensington Oval. They will then come to Sabina Park where they will contest four day/night games from July 7-12.
“The atmosphere in Jamaica is always the best for the past two seasons, and I am expecting nothing less this time around. It should be even more of a spectacle because it will be the first time that we will be playing under lights, so hopefully the fans will turn out in support, which will be an added push for us,” Miller ended.