The Jamaica Cricket Association celebrated Nikita Miller on his 100th first-class game prior to the start of the Jamaica Scorpions and Barbados Pride match that commenced at Sabina Park yesterday.
The 36-year-old off-spinner made his debut for Jamaica against the Leeward Islands in Discovery Bay, St. Ann from January 7-10, 2005. During that time, he has taken 532 wickets at an average of 16.99. He has 36 five-wicket hauls and on 12 occasions he claimed 10 wickets in a match.
He has also been handy with the bat scoring 2282 runs averaging 17.55 runs at each turn at bat.
JCA President Wilford ‘Billy’ Heaven presented the ace spin bowler with a commemorative plaque just before the match.
“Nikita Miller has been a stalwart of Jamaican cricket for many years. He has served as captain and led the team in various ways. His records are a testament to the strength of his technical abilities. Nikita’s body of work serves as motivation to bowlers across the region. Today, we laud him on achieving this milestone, a journey which has been decorated with numerous magnificent performances,” Heaven said.
JCA’s CEO Courtney Francis described Miller as part of a special group of players who have represented Jamaica.
“Only some of the best cricketers achieve this milestone. Having represented Jamaica at this level and performed admirably throughout his career, I would say, puts him comfortably in Jamaica’s top 10 cricketers.”
Francis said that young players could learn from Miller’s determination and a strong focus on pre-game preparation. “Nikita always has his game plan in mind. Beyond that, he’s very involved in the life of the team and he’s always honest,” Francis said.
“He will call himself out when he underperforms and will do the same to teammates without berating them; these are qualities to emulate.”
Miller, in response, said his fondest first-class memory was a 10-wicket haul against Trinidad and Tobago at Sabina Park in the final of the Carib Challenge in April 2008.
Jamaica won the encounter by nine wickets with Miller returning figures of 5 for 29 and 5 for 92.
“It was my first five-wicket haul and then I followed it up with five more in the second innings so I ended the game with 10,” he said.
“It was special because going into that game I trailed (Amit) Jaggernauth by about nine wickets, but the (Jamaica) team got together and said they were going to make me the number one wicket-taker in the regional competition. I ended up winning the Courtney Walsh Award by one wicket, I’ll never forget that.”
The man, called “Killer” by teammates, represents the Melbourne Cricket Club. He credits the lessons learned from his early days playing cricket in St. Elizabeth as a crucial part of his current success.
“I got a very good start at STETHS through Coach Junior Bennett and Dr Donovan Bennett,” he said. “The foundations were set there for a very good career. At the club level, there was the late Colin Fletcher and former Scorpions Coach Robert Samuels among many others.
“I learned confidence and how to be mentally strong. These are things which are now a part of me on an off the field.”
One of the mysteries of regional cricket is that Miller has played a solitary Test match despite his incredible stats.