Geoff Miller OBE is quite simply one of the most respected figures in English cricket. After an accomplished playing career with his native Derbyshire, Essex and, of course, at Test level with England, he became the first man to hold the chief position of National Selector when the ECB shelved the equivalent role of Chairman of Selectors in 2008.
Over the following five years, Geoff’s wise selection policy and choices led England on an incredible run of three successive Ashes victories and to the pinnacle of the world Test rankings before he finally retired in late 2013. His success in this role, and the contribution he made to English cricket as a player, was swiftly recognised when he awarded Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2014 New Year’s Honours List.
Geoff debuted for Derbyshire in July 1973, having risen through the ranks of schoolboy cricket in Chesterfield, and his reputation grew as he racked up both runs from the bat and wickets from his tricky right-arm off-breaks. By 1976 his efforts were rewarded by being named Cricket Writers’ Club Young Cricketer of the Year on the back of a season that saw him picked for England in the Test series against an ominous West Indies side that included the likes of Sir Viv Richards, Clive Lloyd CBE, Gordon Greenidge MBE, Michael Holding and Andy Roberts.
Geoff became an England stalwart over the next eight years alongside Sir Ian Botham, Mike Gatting OBE, Graham Gooch OBE, David Gower OBE and Bob Willis MBE during a period regarded by many as the most competitive Test cricket has ever been. By his last Test match in 1984 he had made 34 Test appearances, 14 in Ashes series, skittling 60 opponents and amassing over 1,200 runs, missing out on centuries by just two runs on two occasions. As the One Day International format came to prominence, Geoff appeared in 25 games, taking as many wickets.
He was appointed Derbyshire captain in 1979 and won the 1981 NatWest Trophy Final at Lord’s, the county’s first honour in 45 years. He played with his home county until 1987 and enjoyed a three year spell with Essex before returning to Derbyshire for a first-class swansong in 1990 and three seasons with Cheshire from 1991.
After retiring, his charisma and Test experience saw Geoff very much in demand as an after dinner speaker and he built a reputation for both his humorous anecdotes and insightful views into the game. That same insight led to him being appointed to the ECB’s Board of Selectors under the Chairmanship of David Graveney in 2000, where he was instrumental in putting together the historic 2005 Ashes winning squad. His success in the role saw him promoted to the new position of National Selector in 2008.
Awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Sports by the University of Derby in 2010, Geoff Miller OBE is deeply immersed in Derbyshire sporting life. He has been President of Derbyshire County Cricket Club since 2014 and now devotes considerable time to both motivational and after dinner speaking. His lifelong experience of cricket, both on the field and behind the scenes, makes him one of the most knowledgeable characters in the game, with more than a few tales to tell.