David Miller

Miller replaced George Bailey at the helm after the Australian batsman was released at the end of last season by Punjab. © BCCI

David Miller, the hard-hitting left-hand batsman from South Africa, will lead Kings XI Punjab in season nine of the Indian Premier League, beginning in the second week of April.

Miller, 26, replaces George Bailey at the helm after the Australian batsman was released at the end of last season by Punjab and went unsold at the player auction in Bangalore on February 6.

Under Bailey, Punjab won just three of 14 games last year and finished at the bottom of the pile with a mere six points, five below Delhi Daredevils, who ended in seventh spot. Bailey finished second on the run-scorers’ list for the team with 259 runs at a strike rate of 136.31, nearly a hundred runs behind Miller, who racked up 357 runs including two fifties at an impressive 32.45 and a strike rate of 134.21.

In all, Miller has played 52 games in the IPL, all of them for Punjab, and has extremely impressive numbers – 1443 runs at 43.72, with one century and eight half-centuries.

Miller, however, hasn’t played for South Africa since the limited-overs games on their tour of India ended on October 25 last year, though, in the last fortnight, he made 54 in a first-class game and 42 in a 50-over game for Dolphins in South African domestic competitions.

In a bid to turn their fortunes around, Punjab have roped in Virender Sehwag as their mentor and made several key buys at the auction, including Mohit Sharma, the Indian paceman currently recovering from injury, for Rs 6.5 crore. Their other important buys include Marcus Stoinis, Kyle Abbott and Farhaan Behardien.