Gujarat Titans middle-order South African batsman David Miller says that Hardik Pandya is getting better as a captain as the IPL season progresses. Abhishek Tripathi had a special conversation with David Miller regarding travel with Gujarat and other matters, here are the highlights:

You have been a part of IPL for a long time, but as an overseas player you have found stability in Gujarat Titans. is that so?

Yes, I have been a part of IPL continuously for the last few years. I got a lot of opportunities here and I have played for a few teams as a foreign player. Gujarat is the new team in this tournament and the setup here is different and better. We started this season well. Whenever the team needs you, you just have to show your game and contribute to the team’s victory.

How has been your journey so far, especially your role in the playing XI. What kind of support has the Titans team received from the management?

– It’s been a very busy schedule so far and as I said the setup here is different. There is a big difference to standardism. I follow the team more than my personal needs. This is a big difference.

How is it for you to play under a new captain like Hardik Pandya?

– It’s been a great experience. I know him very well off the field as well. We have been playing against each other for many years. But knowing Hardik up close and on a different level has been an even better experience. As the IPL season progresses, Hardik is getting better as a captain. His contribution has been significant and his performance as a captain and personally has been very good. He scored runs for us and he is leading the team from the front. It is really great to play under his leadership.

Can you tell what was written on the white page of coach Ashish Nehra, which Ashish was reading while sitting in the dugout?

I can’t say for sure, but he may be looking at it by making a photo, I can’t tell anything more about it.

As a middle order batsman, you have to deal with slow bowlers more. What is your strategy against the talented spinners on these pitches?

— As the tournament progresses, the pitch is slowing down and we have discussed this with the team and everyone knew it could affect the players. Dew is also a factor but coming in the middle order you have to deal with spinners and being a cricketer you have to go to different places. Sometimes it is hot in some place, like it is here. However, I like to play spinners and this season has been very successful for spinners.

You have done well in many international tournaments, but the runs you have scored in this IPL have boosted your confidence?

— Yes, it makes a difference because players from all over the world are involved in the IPL. Looking at the performance I have done over the years, Gujarat Titans have supported me. I want to continue to perform like this. As the tournament progresses, my confidence is also increasing.

– Excited to play to your home audience at the world’s largest stadium located in Gujarat?

– Yes, I’m very excited about it. I’ve never been there. I had missed the camp before IPL. Everyone’s dream as a cricketer is to play in the presence of more audiences. If there is a playoff match in Ahmedabad, it will be a really better experience for me to play there.

– How much extra pressure is there on the team for the playoffs?

We’ve played really good cricket this season and nothing like the added pressure. But yes, 100 percent of the spectators have been allowed to join the field in the playoffs. This is something that is a little different because nothing like this has happened in the recent past. We worked hard to qualify for the playoffs throughout the season and it will be a bit of a pressure but at the same time exciting. Playoff matches and the presence of spectators is something you as a cricketer always want to see.

– What according to you was the most influencing factor for the team and the team’s success in its debut season itself?

I think many players had started preparing before the IPL season. We are one of those teams that were going to be eyeing. We played as a team and together we faced and overcome difficult situations. Our bowling attack is the most competitive and superior attack of the tournament. I believe we have been able to capitalize on what is an important part of the game. Many players have taken responsibility and contributed in different matches. The team also did the right things at the right time.

– If you guys reach the final, which team would you like to see in front of you in the title match?

— To be honest, we just want to reach the final and all the teams are competing in the tournament for that. We are moving ahead with our goal and if we keep going with this goal and reach the final, then we will be ready for the challenge of any team.

Edited By: Sanjay Savern