Tymal Mills ready to lead England attack against India in T20 series
The 24-year-old left-arm quick is ready to spearhead England's attack in the three-match Twenty20 series against India which starts here tomorrow.
Mills has played just a single senior international for England – a T20 last July against Sri Lanka in Southampton – but he is better qualified than most for the game's shortest format.
Exactly a month before his England debut last summer, the Sussex bowler destroyed the stumps of West Indies star Chris Gayle, playing for Somerset in the T20 Blast, with a delivery measured at 93mph.
Ahead of the 2013 Ashes series he almost put Graeme Swann in hospital after hitting him on the arm when bowling for Essex against England in a warm-up match.
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England headed to Sydney with the 2010-11 Ashes in the bag but a series win was at stake. Hundreds from Alastair Cook, Ian Bell and Matt Prior set up a total of 644 before the seamers forced the tourists to an innings win
A career-threatening back injury that left Mills fearing for his health, not just his cricket, has meant he has had to focus just on the shortest format of the game.
He now travels the globe plying his trade in the various T20 leagues. From the Sussex Sharks to the Chittagong Vikings in Bangladesh, Auckland in New Zealand to the Brisbane Heat in Australia's Big Bash, Mills has been clocking up the air miles in recent months.
And along with a number of his England team-mates, he has put himself forward for the money-spinning Indian Premier League auction which takes place early next month ahead of the tournament in April and May.
"I feel good at the moment, I think I clocked 150kph (90mph) a few times while I was in the Big Bash," said Mills. "I've felt good bowling in the nets so far since being here, and hopefully I can show that off if selected over the next week.
Trevor Bayliss has been left disappointed with the accuracy of his bowlers
"If I can stay fit and play in these different tournaments with and against different players, it's only going to benefit me."
Mills acknowledges that it is a batsman's game these days with fans coming to see fours and sixes being smashed out of the park, but he hopes his particular brand of fiery cricket can inspire kids to be fast bowlers.
"I'm always going to try and bowl quick," he said. "If I open the bowling and take the new ball in the powerplay I'm always going to come in hard. That's why I've been selected.
"But I've got to be smart. Sometimes the faster you bowl the faster it goes off when you bowl against some high-class batters, as I will be in this series. You've got to mix your pace up and mix your skills up, but I'm always looking to bowl quicker."
Mills played down hopes he might make himself available for the 50-over format too as England search for their best bowling line-up ahead of this summer's Champions Trophy at home.
Coach Trevor Bayliss was disappointed with the accuracy of the pace bowlers in the one-day series here and has hinted that places are still up for grabs.
Mills's pace would add another dimension to England's one-day attack but he said: "I'm not looking that far ahead. I'm playing regularly at the moment – I've played 16 or 17 games so far this winter – and I'm injury-free.
"I'm only 24, I've spent a lot of time being injured and it's not much fun. So I don't want to put myself at risk.
"One thing I've learned with the injuries I've had is that I've got to train smart and play smart, because I've got a limited amount of balls that I can bowl. Down the line you don't know what could happen but in the immediate future, I'm only looking to play T20s."
Mills is almost certain to play tomorrow with fellow left-armer David Willey ruled out with a shoulder injury sustained in the final one-dayer in Kolkata on Sunday.