Keith Miller who died 11 October 2004 aged 84, appeared for Notts once v Cambridge University at Trent Bridge in June 1959. Miller had been elected a member of MCC that summer and intended to appear in some MCC matches. Eddie Marshall, the Notts Committee man, asked Miller if he would turn out for the county. If legend is correct, Miller arrived at Trent Bridge about 15 minutes before play began armed with a girl, but no cricket equipment. Some 5,000 spectators turned out to see him, five times the usual number for such a game. He scored 62 and 102 not out – his 100 was made in 125 minutes. Miller had not played any first-class cricket for three years!

Born in Melbourne on 28 November 1919. Miller’s first appearance at Trent Bridge had been equally dramatic. The two-day game on 31 August and 1 September 1945 was Notts v Australian Services, Bill Voce found the pitch to his liking and took 11 wickets in the match. In the first innings he had Miller out for 12 and the Australians were all out for 194. They fared little better the second time – all out for 215 - but Miller, in a delightful exhibition, hit 81 not out, easily the highest score in the whole match. Notts needed 280 to win, with Keeton and Harris adding 65 for the first wicket, but of the rest only Voce put up any resistance and Notts lost by 103 runs.

Coming to England with Bradman’s side in 1948, Miller hit 51 in his one innings against Notts and a duck in his only innings in the Trent Bridge Test, but when he bowled five bumpers in eight balls against Hutton, the Notts crowd hooted and whistled. The following morning, prior to play beginning, the Notts secretary appealed for spectators not to continue their barracking of Miller.

Back in England in 1953, the Trent Bridge Test was played in gloom and rain, Miller could not bowl due to a back problem, but did hit 55 in the first innings. The match was drawn, as was the game in 1956 – that was Laker’s great summer and Miller was dismissed by the famous off-spinner for a duck and four.

Keith Miller was one of the great characters and great all-rounders in the history of the game and, except for those five ‘bumpers’, popular with English crowds whenever and wherever he appeared – and with Ray Lindwall formed a bowling partnership of great potency and success.

April 2020