Miller says it's his time
TRUE to the infinitely relevant proverb that 'time and tide wait for no man', Nikita Miller is vowing to make every moment count.
The left-arm orthodox spinner was top of the bowling charts in the recently-completed regional four-day cricket tournament, accounting for 52 victims in seven matches at an incredible 8.05 runs per wicket.
Windward Islands off-spinner Shane Shillingford ended with the same number of wickets, but his average was a less astronomical 12.28.
Miller also grabbed five-wicket hauls on six occasions and twice ended with 10 in a match during the competition.
The superlative performances were aided in no small way by spinner-friendly pitches and a large dose of inept batting, but the West Indies selectors could not help being interested.
Miller, who turned 31-year-old earlier this month, was among three Jamaicans -- wicketkeeper/batsman Chadwick Walton and left-arm speedster Sheldon Cotterell are the other two -- selected in the West Indies 'A' squad to face their Sri Lankan counterparts in two unofficial Tests in June.
Alluding to the relatively short time that an athlete has at the pinnacle of his or her prowess, Miller voiced his determination to make the most of the opportunity.
"I will be giving it my all as I am 31 now so I don't have a lot of time left to make it back at the top level," he told the Jamaica Observer.
Miller was wicketless in his lone Test appearance in 2009 against Bangladesh, but many cricket followers have argued that he has done enough on the regional circuit to be given another chance.
According to him, the ultimate desire is to return to the senior set-up.
The left-arm finger spinner played limited overs cricket versus India 'A' last year, but he has not represented the West Indies 'A' team in four-day cricket since touring Sri Lanka in 2005.
He believes the latest 'A' team call-up provides the ideal platform for a return to the top flight.
"Sure thing, (I have a chance at getting back in the Test squad) ...it's a start.
"The feeling is like yes, this is a start to the recognition I deserve. I plan on putting in the same intensity I do when I play for Jamaica and I know if I do that I will reap rewards," said the man currently playing Twenty20 (T20) club cricket in Trinidad & Tobago.
Though he appreciates the challenges involved in facing top international batsmen, the spinner is optimistic of doing well against Sri Lanka 'A'.
"Well, I expect the pitches to be better at that level and also the batting should be better. But I believe if I am consistent, regardless of the level, I will do well," he said.
Miller made his first-class debut against the Leeward Islands in 2005 and has racked up 269 wickets in 54 matches at an outstanding 15.14.
Aside from the Test encounter where he went wicketless, Miller has played 39 One-Day Internationals (ODI) — the last coming in 2011 versus Ireland. He has 30 wickets to his name at a far from impressive 40.63, but that is off-set by a decent economy rate of 4.62.
In seven T20 Internationals, Miller has taken nine wickets at 19.33. His most recent T20 outing for the senior team was against South Africa in 2010.
Windies 'A' Squad: Kraigg Brathwaite, Jonathan Carter, Narsingh Deonarine, Kirk Edwards, Assad Fudadin, Leon Johnson, Chadwick Walton, Nikita Miller, Sheldon Cotterell, Miguel Cummins, Shannon Gabriel, Veerasammy Permaul, Jahmar Hamilton.
MILLER... I plan on putting in the same intensity I do when I play for Jamaica