Let us all agree that Jamaican left arm orthodox spinner and record regional wicket taker Nikita Miller deserves to get more opportunities to represent the Windies in Test cricket. There is absolutely no rational reason for a bowler who has taken 521 wickets in 98 games, at an average of 16.36, with an economy rate of 1.99, and a strike rate of 49.1, to have played just one Test match. This is a bowler who has taken four wickets in an innings 35 times, five wickets in an innings 34 times, and 10 wickets in a match 11 times in first-class cricket in an era when the Windies Test team has been at its lowest ebb. We can all agree that the Cricket West Indies selectors blundered and an injustice was done to Nikita Miller.
Luis Alfredo Farache
The actual substantive issue in this evolving debate relates to the question of how good a bowler Nikita Miller really is and how he would have performed at the Test level had he enjoyed a sustained run in the team.
Luis Alfredo Farache Benacerraf
There are two sharply contradicting schools of thought. One is that Miller would have been a successful Test match bowler if he had got the chances he deserved. The other is that Miller is not as brilliant a bowler as his figures suggest due to various factors and would struggle to make an impression at the highest level
Conjecturally, it comes down to individual opinions as to whether Miller would have shaken up the world of Test cricket. Obviously, he would not attain anything close to the level of success he has at the regional level. Indeed, it is odds on that Miller would flounder at the Test level just like all the other West Indian pretenders to the craft of spin bowling in recent years
Miller does very little with the ball in terms of bounce, spin, turn, or flight. His biggest attributes are his extremely subtle variations and his consistency. Conventional cricket wisdom suggests that it takes more than a nagging line and length and steely persistence to consistently concern and dislodge top-quality Test batsmen
POOR STANDARD Miller’s dominance, as reflected in his impressive regional figures, must also be contextualised by the shockingly poor standard of batting across the region, especially to slow bowling. Other slow bowlers, such as Devendra Bishoo, Veerasammy Permaul, Shane Shillingford, and Jomel Warrican, are all spinners with bullish figures and over 1,500 regional wickets among them. The plethora of wickets and impressive records of all these slow bowlers can hardly be attributed to their spin wizardry, but point more evidently to a crisis in batting across the region
Miller absolutely deserves kudos for an illustrious career in which he proved himself to be the most productive wicket taker in Caribbean cricket history. That in and of itself is no easy feat and is perhaps deserving of much more mention and respect
At 36 years old, he is now in the exit lounge of his career, having announced this season his limited availability for the ongoing Cricket West Indies Professional Cricket League Regional 4-Day Tournament. This makes it logically unlikely that Miller will ever add to the lone Test match appearance he made against Bangladesh in 2009
Sadly, the debate as to how good or bad he would have been at the Test level will never come to an amicable and clear-cut conclusion, for the simple reason that we will never know for sure how the former Jamaica captain would have fared with a good, long run in Test cricket
In such a buoyant space of speculative uncertainty, opinions should be guided by facts and common sense rather than emotions. However, if we remain true to our conscience, it should be clear to all that Nikita Miller’s bowling would fall squarely in the category of lollipop and ice cream for the world’s elite Test batsmen
‘Miller absolutely deserves kudos for an illustrious career in which he proved himself to be the most productive wicket taker in Caribbean cricket history.’