Tymal Mills, a name that resonates with speed and precision in the cricketing world, has made a significant mark in international cricket. Known for his explosive pace and innovative thinking about the short-form game, Mills has faced numerous challenges throughout his career. Diagnosed with a congenital back condition in 2015, where his spinal cord and vertebrae are unusually close together, he was restricted from bowling too frequently to avoid agitating his spinal cord. This diagnosis meant that Mills had to focus on a career as a T20 specialist. However, instead of seeing this as a limitation, he embraced the world of franchise cricket, showcasing his skills in various T20 leagues globally.
Born on August 12, 1992, in Dewsbury, Yorkshire, Tymal Solomon Mills' journey into the world of cricket is nothing short of inspiring. Interestingly, Mills only began playing cricket at the age of 14. It took another two years for the sport to become a significant part of his life. By the age of 19, his undeniable talent had propelled him into the Essex first team. This rapid ascent meant that he had to abandon a journalism course at the University of East London to focus on his budding cricket career.
His early days in cricket saw him progress through the academy set-up at Essex. His performances didn't go unnoticed, and he soon represented England Under-19s. Mills' Championship debut came midway through the 2011 season, and by then, he had already caught the attention of the National Academy scouts. Recognising his potential, he was fast-tracked onto the Performance Programme and subsequently played for the Lions on their tour of Bangladesh.
The hype around Mills grew exponentially in his early years. Before turning 20, he was already clocking speeds of over 90mph, a feat he showcased in front of the Sky TV cameras. His pace and potential led to calls for his inclusion in the England Test side, especially during the 2013-14 Ashes when Mitchell Johnson was causing havoc with his pace against the English batsmen. Mills even had a stint practising against the England team to prepare them for left-arm fast bowling. However, a record of six Championship wickets at an average of 66.33 in the 2013 season worked against him.
Despite the challenges, Mills continued to develop his skills with the Lions in Sri Lanka. However, after another season with mediocre statistics in 2014 with Essex, he moved to Sussex, hoping that a change of environment would rejuvenate his career and help him live up to the expectations of the England selectors.
His journey, filled with ups and downs, showcases his resilience and commitment to the sport. From being diagnosed with a career-limiting back condition to becoming one of the most sought-after T20 specialists, Mills' story is a testament to his passion and dedication to cricket.
Tymal Mills' journey in the domestic circuit began with his first-class debut for Essex against the Sri Lankans in a tourist match in 2011 at Chelmsford. His Championship debut followed soon after against Leicestershire at Grace Road in July 2011. While his first-innings figures were a modest 0-51, he showcased his potential in the second innings with figures of 3-48.
Mills' talent was evident, and he was soon named on the England Performance Programme (EPP). This programme involved training at Loughborough, camps in North Wales, and sessions with the Greater Manchester Fire Department. Mills also travelled to Potchefstroom, South Africa, for a specialist fast bowling programme. His rapid rise was further solidified when he was included in the 16-man England Lions squad in December 2011.
In 2012, Mills took 5 List A wickets at an average of 58.60. However, he showed improvement in the Championship, securing 14 wickets at an average of 30.35. The following year, 2013, saw him perform better in List A cricket, taking ten wickets at an average of 23.30. Despite a slight dip in his Championship performance, his consistent displays for Essex earned him another spot on an England performance programme. This led to him taking six wickets for the Lions during their tour of Sri Lanka.
2014 marked a significant change in Mills' career as he moved to Sussex. In the English T20 competition, he took wickets at an impressive average of 20, and his pace continued to make him a standout player. He also made his debut in the First division of the County Championship, taking 14 wickets at an average just below 35.
However, 2015 brought challenges for Mills. He was diagnosed with a congenital back condition, which led him to take a hiatus from red-ball cricket. Despite this setback, he continued to shine in T20 cricket, securing 19 wickets at an average of 18.84.
Mills made his Twenty20 International (T20I) debut for England against Sri Lanka on 5 July 2016. In this match, he delivered a commendable performance, taking figures of 0-22, contributing to England's victory by eight wickets. His international journey continued with the T20I series against India in January 2017. In the first game, he took 1-27, aiding England in a seven-wicket victory. The subsequent matches saw him take figures of 1-36 and 1-31, respectively.
Mills' international career reached a pinnacle when he was named in England's squad for the 2021 ICC Men's T20 World Cup. After a hiatus of five years, he made a triumphant return in England's first match of the World Cup against the West Indies, taking an impressive 2-17 from his 4 overs.
Throughout his career, Mills has showcased consistent performances, both domestically and internationally. Here are some of his notable statistics:
T20I Matches: 13
Runs Scored (T20I): 8
Batting Average (T20I): 4.00
Balls Bowled (T20I): 268
Wickets (T20I): 12
Bowling Average (T20I): 31.16
Best Bowling (T20I): 3/27
In the domestic circuit:
First-Class Matches: 32
Runs Scored (FC): 260
Batting Average (FC): 11.30
Balls Bowled (FC): 3,531
Wickets (FC): 55
Bowling Average (FC): 36.50
Best Bowling (FC): 4/25
In T20 matches:
T20 Matches: 188
Runs Scored (T20): 149
Batting Average (T20): 5.96
Balls Bowled (T20): 3,879
Wickets (T20): 220
Bowling Average (T20): 23.73
Best Bowling (T20): 4/22
One of the crowning achievements of Mills' career was being a part of the England squad that won the 2022 T20 World Cup.
Mills' journey, from his domestic rise to his international successes, is a testament to his dedication, resilience, and passion for the sport. As he continues to play, fans and experts alike eagerly await his future contributions to the world of cricket.
Tymal Mills is not just another fast bowler; he brings a unique blend of attributes that sets him apart from his contemporaries. Here are some of the distinctive aspects of his cricketing style:
Explosive Pace: Mills is renowned for his ability to consistently bowl at speeds exceeding 90mph. This raw pace often leaves batsmen with little time to react, making him a formidable force in the shortest format of the game.
Variations: While his pace is intimidating, Mills also possesses a wide range of variations. His slower balls, especially the back-of-the-hand deliveries, have deceived many established batsmen. This ability to mix up his deliveries makes him unpredictable and a genuine wicket-taking threat.
T20 Specialist: After being diagnosed with a congenital back condition, Mills pivoted his career towards becoming a T20 specialist. This focus has allowed him to hone specific skills tailored for the format, making him a sought-after player in T20 leagues worldwide.
Death Bowling: One of the most challenging roles for a bowler in T20 cricket is bowling in the death overs. Mills has showcased his expertise in this area, using his yorkers and wide deliveries effectively to restrict batsmen during the final overs.
Athleticism in the Field: Apart from his bowling, Mills is also known for his athleticism on the field. His commitment and agility have saved crucial runs for his team, making him a complete package in T20 cricket.
Tymal Mills' journey in cricket is a testament to resilience, adaptability, and sheer talent. From his early days in domestic cricket to making a mark on the international stage, Mills has faced challenges head-on, turning potential career-ending setbacks into opportunities.
His decision to focus on T20 cricket post his back diagnosis has proven to be a masterstroke. Not only has he become a vital player for England in the shortest format, but he's also a hot property in T20 leagues across the globe. His performances in various leagues, from the Indian Premier League to The Hundred, have showcased his adaptability and prowess.
Looking ahead, the future seems bright for Mills. As T20 cricket continues to grow in popularity and significance, players like Mills, who have tailored their game for this format, will be in high demand. With the T20 World Cup win under his belt and continuous improvement in his game, Mills is poised to remain a crucial player for England and any franchise he represents.
Moreover, with advancements in sports medicine and physiotherapy, there's hope that Mills might manage his back condition even better, potentially prolonging his cricketing career.
What is Tymal Mills' primary cricketing role?
Mills is a left-handed fast bowler who plays mainly as a bowler.
When did Mills make his T20 International debut for England?
Mills made his T20I debut for England on 5 July 2016 against Sri Lanka.
Which T20 leagues has Mills participated in?
Mills has played in several leagues, including the Indian Premier League, Pakistan Super League, The Hundred, and more.
What significant achievement did Mills accomplish with the England team in 2022?
Mills was part of the England squad that won the 2022 T20 World Cup.
Why did Mills focus on becoming a T20 specialist?
Mills was diagnosed with a congenital back condition in 2015, which led him to focus on T20 cricket, reducing the strain on his back.