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Last Updated: Monday, 11 October, 2004, 12:02 GMT 13:02 UK
Australia's greatest all-rounder
By Oliver Brett

KEITH MILLER'S TEST STATISTICS
Tests played: 55
Runs: 2,958 at 36.97 with seven centuries
Wickets: 170 at 22.97 with seven five-wicket hauls

Keith Miller, who has died aged 84, was one of the most exciting and most skilled performers that cricket has witnessed.

As the finest all-rounder the country ever produced, he invariably earns a place in a pick of the all-time greatest Australia side.

He did not always have a happy relationship with the Australian cricket hierarchy; he was never invited to captain his country, a post he probably deserved.

In England, however, he was something of a cricketing hero and also a popular man at a time when sport did not have to dominate players' lives.

Until his final years, he continued to visit England to go horse racing, having as a child harboured ambitions of being a jockey, and was always happy to attend a good party.

Writing about Miller in 1987, broadcasting legend John Arlott remembers him first not as a cricketer, but as a young Australian air-force pilot at a hectic night party in Brighton during the war.

Arlott said: "His vitality then, as ever since, was immense. He has remained a man of character and humour."

Later, when comparing cricket with the war, Miller said: "Pressure, I'll tell you what pressure is. Pressure is a Messerschmitt up your arse, playing cricket is not."

He played first for his native Victoria in 1937, making 181 on his first-class debut, and after the war for New South Wales, having moved to Sydney for economic reasons.

He was a genuine all-rounder and as a batsman could play either in dominant fashion or at a slower pace if necessary.

He was a fierce driver of a cricket ball but also a delicate cutter.

As a bowler he was usually categorised as fast-medium, but he could sometimes bowl even faster than his contemporary Ray Lindwall.

He moved the ball sharply off the seam and could make it lift quite alarmingly from only fractionally short of a length.

He was the finest all-rounder I came into contact with - he could bat, bowl, field and he could fly an aeroplane
Bill Brown
Australia's oldest Test cricketer

When he toured England with Sir Don Bradman's "Invincibles" side of 1948, the England fans were thrilled by his exploits.

In the first Test, with Lindwall injured and unable to bowl, Miller picked off the best of the England batting.

At Leeds, in the face of England's first innings score of 496, Arthur Morris, Lindsay Hassett and Don Bradman were hustled out for 68. But it was Miller who settled in with Neil Harvey to revive their batting.

Australia would go on to win that Test, and the series 4-0.

By the time Miller had retired after 55 Tests, he had the finest all-round record in cricket history, with statistics that were only beaten in later eras.

The second man, Wilfred Rhodes, was 663 runs and 43 wickets behind him.

Australia's oldest living former Test cricketer, 92-year-old Bill Brown, said: "He was the finest all-rounder I came into contact with - he could bat, bowl, field and he could fly an aeroplane.

"He was a strong hitter of the ball, he had a very good pair of hands - especially in close - and you could always give him the new ball with confidence."

Miller is one of only three Australian cricketers, along with Bradman and Victor Trumper, to be honoured with a portrait in the Lord's Long Room in London.





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