Since the turn of the year Tymal Mills has plied his trade in New Zealand, Australia and Pakistan’s T20 leagues, as well as impressing for England in India – performances the left-arm quick hopes will secure him an IPL deal at Monday’s auction. He spoke to us about a whirlwind few months.
Not so long ago your career was hanging in the balance after a horrendous run of injuries but in the last eight months you’ve made your England debut, played in the Super Smash, the Big Bash and the PSL, and now you’re in the IPL auction. Have you had to pinch yourself?
This winter has gone brilliantly, I couldn’t have asked for it to go much better. It all started probably 18 months ago, at the end of the season before last, and then the ECB took me away on various training camps and just spent a whole winter getting me fit, which I really appreciate. Then I was able to hit the ground running with Sussex. I had a great start to the summer there, made my England debut and now I’ve got on the bandwagon to play on these leagues across the world. It’s been pretty fun so far. I can’t complain!
How hard have you had to work to get yourself into this position?
The first winter was tough, getting in good shape and then finding a routine that allowed me to maintain that. Since then it’s just been a case of being smart and not getting giddy. You’ve just got to find a way of staying as level as you can.
Have you made your peace with the fact that you’re now a T20 specialist?
Yeah, definitely, at least for the next year or so. I’m not even thinking about anything else at the moment. I’m really enjoying being on the park and being healthy. Certainly for the time being I just want to continue to do that.
How did playing in the Big Bash compare to your experience of T20 county cricket?
The infrastructure is obviously already in place with the big stadiums and the crowds that come out in force. The cricket is a great standard. I loved the opportunity. Even though I only got to play two games, they were a full house at the Gabba and then 45,000 at the MCG, so I was lucky enough to get two good ones to play in.
Are you in favour of the city-based T20 league that looks set to be introduced in England?
Yeah, of course. I don’t think it’s a bad thing at all and from a selfish point of view I only play T20 and I want the competition to be as good as it can be. The comp we have at the moment is good, and a lot of people get to play a good standard of cricket, but in this new competition – obviously if it looks like it’s going to happen – then the number of players playing in it will be reduced and that’s only going to drive the standard up.
You’re currently playing for Quetta Gladiators in the Pakistan Super League, where coverage of the competition has been dominated by the match-fixing allegations. Has it affected the mood out there?
The guys who have been sent home so far weren’t in my side and it hasn’t affected my team as such but I know a lot of the local guys are disappointed because they love their cricket, there are a lot of very good players out here and they want this tournament to be as strong as it can be and for Pakistan to be shown in a good light. A lot of these guys are really good guys, really good cricketers, and they want to show that on the world stage, so it’s disappointing for them especially.
You’re in the IPL auction on Monday. Are you hoping your performances for England in the recent series against India will have put you in the shop window?
I think so. That series probably couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I was really excited to get out there and pleased to go straight into the team. Morgs [Eoin Morgan] let me just carry on doing what I’ve been doing for Sussex and this winter: bowling in the powerplay and at the death, and being aggressive. I was very happy with how it went. I came away with some good figures and didn’t get smacked about. It was a great experience to bowl at Kohli, Dhoni etc and I’m better for it.
Do you go into the auction blind or do you have an inkling of who might be interested in you?
My agent has been speaking to a few people and you hear teams are keen, that you’re on their watch list, but when it comes to the day I think these things sometimes go out the window. So you can’t take anything for granted. Pretty much all the England guys are quite high up in the running order, I think we’re all in the first 30 players that are getting read out, and that is a bit of an indication of who they might like and who they might be going for. I’ll probably be watching it with the England boys that are out here. We’ll get together and hopefully we’ll all have a good day. It’ll be interesting!
You’ve set your base price at 50 lakhs, towards the lower end of the scale. How did you come to that decision?
I sat down with my agent and had a chat about it. I just need to make sure I go really because if I don’t play in the IPL I’ve got no cricket between this and the English comp in July, apart from a couple of England matches in June. I’d have a long time twiddling my thumbs. It’s not really about the money this year. I just need to go out there and hopefully make a good impression.