Melbourne: The existing under-current between the two notwithstanding, Greg Chappell had once said about Sachin Tendulkar that 'if you give him a stump to go out and bat, I tell you he'd be okay'.
South Africa's David Miller with a stump in hand during batting practice at the Junction Oval in St Kilda, Melbourne yesterday
While Tendulkar was impregnable in his prime, even he would have not thought of trying to bat with a single stump too often, or maybe he did, but there's not much written about it anyway.
However, yesterday at the Junction Oval at St Kilda, one of South Africa's premier batsmen, David Miller, dared to bat with a single stump. And he didn't do too badly either.
Coming back to Tendulkar, the Master Blaster had also hailed then coach Gary Kirsten for his numerous throwdowns that helped him develop a firm grip on his batting, which eventually helped India get a grip on the 2011 World Cup trophy too.
Kirsten is now in enemy camp, doing the same duty for his home country, South Africa, as batting consultant.
And having hurriedly arrived in Australia only yesterday from India, where he attended the Indian Premier League auction in his capacity as Delhi Daredevils coach a day earlier, Kirsten was at the 2 pm practice session at the Junction Oval here, training the Proteas with the same dedication as he did the Indians.
Middling the ball
Kirsten (47) took big-hitter Miller to the nets at the far end, probably to deliberately be away from the prying media, and began throwing down balls to him to negotiate with a stump.
He threw down seven or eight balls, not more, but Miller got each one of them. In fact, the left-handed power-hitter even played some of them straight back, indicating perfect bat contact, or rather, in this case stump contact, with the ball.
Having warmed up enough, Miller, who has been in top form scoring two centuries in his last three ODIs (130 against West Indies on January 25 at Port Elizabeth and an unbeaten 138 against Zimbabwe in a World Cup match at Hamilton three days ago), then picked up his bat, and inevitably middled everything that was thrown at him thereafter too.
Looks like India will have a lot more than just an in-form AB de Villiers to contend with at the MCG come Sunday.