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BRIAN McMILLAN: RHB, RFM b. 22/12/63 Injury and an inability to adjust to one-day cricket have conspired to deny McMillan his rightful place as a top-class all-rounder. He is a somewhat bor- ing but reliable middle-order batsman (generally scores with a straight bat in front of the wicket), an imaginative medium-fast bowler with a vicious inswinger, and incomparably safe as a slip fielder. However, his bowling action puts severe strains on his large frame, and his reliance on lift and cut makes him vulnera- ble to attack on lifeless pitches in one-day games. By the logic of South African selection, this means that he is prone to be omitted from test sides ...
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Brian McMillan has recently come in for a lot of criticism for his batting and bowling. Indeed he is no stroke player on the scale of Mark Waugh and as far as aggresive pace bowlers go he will perhaps never be a Dennis Lillee. But the balance he brings to the South African side is immeasurable as all South African cricket fundis will know.
As a genuine allrounder there is no other cricketer in South Africa who can surpass him and since the World Cup he has cemented his place in the Test and One-day side. At number six or seven in the batting order there are not many who can boast McMillan's technical correctness with the bat and indeed he has come through with many valuable performances with the willow when the South African batting did not come off. Some will recall his 98 against India in 1992-93 when the top four were all dismissed for single figures and it was up to him and Rhodes to steer the SAf ship to safety. Then against Australia earlier this year it was he who took SAf to a first innings lead over Australia in the third test with a solid knock of 84, however many will argue that he bats to slowly. Indeed he does but that is the type of batsman he generally is and one cannot deny him success despite a rather slow scoring rate.
As bowler McMillan is perhaps underrated. Many don't realise the pace he can generate off such a short run up. True McMillan is a strength bowler he relies on his shoulders and rhythm to bowl successfully. He has been injury prone but so often does he pick up vital wickets which go unnoticed. He has however lost a lot of pace in recent years and at the age of 30,his career as a fast bowler cannot continue much longer, when one takes into account that he has had his fair share of injuries.
As a fielder McMillan is unsurpassed at slip and with Kepler Wessels forms a very safe slip semi-cordon. He also has the ability to make breath-taking stops despite his size.
Thus McMillan's allround value cannot be disputed. He is more than a "bits and pieces" player as he is above average in all facets of Cricket. I predict that he will continue representing South Africa until he decides to call it a day.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Plays of the Day from second ODI between South Africa and Pakistan, in Port Elizabeth