Colin Reid Miller
February 06, 1964, Footscray, Melbourne, Victoria
Right hand bat
Right arm fast medium, Right arm offbreak
A consummate cricketing journeyman, Colin Miller made his mark with several teams in Australia, Europe and Asia as a spirited right arm bowler, belligerent lower order batsman, and wholehearted fieldsman. From his cricketing origins in Melbourne's western suburbs until the late 1990s, Miller's career was built on his reputation as a strongly built right arm paceman who could move the ball both ways and who had the capacity to vary his pace cleverly.
In the latter part of his career, however, he made a staggering transformation to his game which saw him rise from being a well-regarded state player to an Australian first-class record breaker and international surprise packet.
Almost unbelievably, Miller's decision in a Hobart club game to revert from bowling pace to off-spin (on account of a niggling ankle injury) and to thereafter mix both styles of bowling was the catalyst for an astonishing succession of events. Among the more notable of these were his haul of 12/119 against South Australia in January 1998 (an all-time record for a Tasmanian bowler in a Sheffield Shield match); his rewriting in 1997-98 of 'Chuck' Fleetwood-Smith's 63-year old record for the highest number of wickets taken in a Shield season; and his stunning emergence in his mid-30s as a tremendously reliable performer for Australia in the international arena. Whilst he surprised some observers by opening the bowling as a paceman and later returning to the crease as an off-spinner who extracted considerable bounce and turn, it must be noted that it would be difficult to identify many first-class bowlers who have struck with anywhere near the same degree of consistency as he did. That he was voted 'Test Player of the Year' for 2000-01 for a team which dominated world cricket tells its own tale about his effectiveness. It's not only for the frequent changes to the colour to his hair since January 2001 that Miller will therefore be renowned.
Miller announced his retirement from first-class cricket in July 2002. He will surely long be remembered as one of the more versatile players ever to represent Australia and one of the country's most amazing first-class success stories. (John Polack, August 2001. Updated July 2002.)
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