Tymal Mills: Southern Brave bowler who could step into England’s T20 World Cup squad

Tymal Mills has been called up to England’s squad for the upcoming World Twenty20 tournament, after an impressive start to his international career. The 22-year-old bowler is one of three uncapped players in the squad, alongside Liam Dawson and Mark Wood.

Kia Oval in London is the venue. Time: 15:00 BST (women’s), 18:30 BST (men’s) Date: 20 August
Women’s match will be broadcast live on Two, iPlayer, and online. Both matches will be broadcast on the radio, with live text, clips, and analysis available on the Sport website.

Many cricket fans will be focused on Lord’s on Saturday for The Hundred’s finals day, but England’s first match in the Twenty20 World Cup is just 65 days away.

Last-minute preparations are underway in the UAE and Oman for the event, but England’s chances of becoming world champions in both white-ball forms were dealt a severe blow earlier this month when Jofra Archer, their top fast bowler, was ruled out due to injury.

Could one of the bowlers on display in this weekend’s conclusion of The Hundred, whose most recent T20 for England was in 2017, be the best potential replacement?

Why Tymal Mills is the right bowler for England

To put it another way, no fast bowler in the world allows less runs in the critical closing stages of an innings than Tymal Mills, whose Southern Brave team plays in the eliminator on Friday.

In the ‘death overs,’ his economy rate is 7.47, better than Archer, Mitchell Starc of Australia, and Jasprit Bumrah of India.

Mills has largely been unable to play for England since being diagnosed with a congenital back condition in 2015, but when healthy, the left-arm quick has travelled to play in T20 leagues in India, Australia, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, as well as impressing for Sussex and working as a radio and television pundit.

An worldwide recall isn’t out of the question. Eoin Morgan, England’s captain, mentioned Mills earlier this year as a bowler who might push their way into the discussion with a strong, injury-free Hundred.

Mills, behind Birmingham Phoenix’s New Zealander Adam Milne, has the second-best death economy for a fast bowler in the group stage.

The 29-year-old has bowled a number of outstanding stints, the most remarkable of which came against London Spirit, when he and Chris Jordan produced a winning spell despite the Spirit just needing 12 from the last 10 balls.

Bowler Number of runs per over
Mills, Tymal (Eng) 7.47
Riaz Wahab (Pak) 7.67
Mustafizur Rahman (Mustafizur Rahman) is a (Ban) 7.84
Dale Steyn is a well-known author (SA) 8.04
Khan, Junaid (Pak) 8.05
Lasith Malinga is a Sri Lankan cricketer (SL) 8.06

Part I: How Mills Stands Out: Fast and Slow

Mills’ slow balls and, more importantly, his pace are his greatest assets in T20 or 100-ball cricket.

Mills, like other bowlers, varies the tempo of his deliveries, but he does it while bowling his hardest balls at speeds above 90 mph, which sets him apart from many others.

Mills has the second-largest gap between the average speed of his faster and slower balls since CricViz started analyzing statistics.

“As soon as the hitter realizes you can bowl 90 mph and possibly strike them or give them discomfort, their technique changes, and the slower ball becomes effective,” Mills explains to Sport.

Tymal Mills speeds vs Welsh Fire. The chart shows the large mix in speeds of Tymal Mills' deliveries against Welsh Fire - ranging from 91mph to 67mph.Mills reached a maximum speed of 91 mph against Welsh Fire, but also a low speed of 67 mph.

His back-of-the-hand slower ball, which forces the pitcher to twist his shoulder and release the ball with the back of his hand facing the hitter, is especially deceiving.

It is bowled with the same arm speed, but the ball comes out considerably slower due to the difference in release.

“It’s not tough for me to bowl,” Mills adds.

“I’m fortunate in that I have excellent shoulder mobility to move my arm over the other way, while other men don’t have that flexibility.”

“I’m trying to get the ball to spin almost like a spinner so it bounces more once it pitches,” says the pitcher.

Part II of How Mills Stands Out: An ‘Unglamorous’ Approach

Mills’ use of those basic talents is equally fascinating.

The yorker, which is a ball that is speared towards a batter’s toes, is thought to be the ideal delivery towards the finish of an innings since it is tough to smash for boundaries when bowled effectively… but Mills does things differently.

Only 32% of his deliveries in the ‘death overs’ in The Hundred have been yorkers, while Mills’ Brave teammate Chris Jordan, an England T20 regular, bowls that delivery 54% of the time.

Instead, Mills strews short balls of varying speeds over the center of the field.

Tymal Mills lengths in last 12 months - 40% full, 19% good, 41% shortIn the past 12 months, 41% of Mills’ T20 and 100-ball deliveries were short, which is above average for fast bowlers. Previously, his proportion of short balls was as high as 60%.

“If a bowler bowls six balls in an over and hits two yorkers, but the rest of the over isn’t fantastic, it’s forgotten – people just remember the yorkers,” Mills adds.

“I go about it by attempting to bowl six balls that all go for a single or two.”

“A yorker is the greatest ball when you get it perfect, no question about it, but when you miss them, they frequently go for four or six.”

“In my make-up and mentality, I’m certainly a defensive bowler.”

Mills has only taken four wickets in eight hundred games, which may be a consequence of his “conservative” attitude. While he has the tournament’s fourth-best economy rate, he ranks 34th in wicket-taking.

“I don’t always bowl the most exciting deliveries,” Mills admits.

“I’m not getting a lot of wickets, but I’m controlling the run rate and putting pressure on my teammates.”

Will it be enough to entice England to visit?

“I’ve been hurt so many times,” Mills recalls, “that I’ve learned not to plan months ahead.”

“I’d want to play for England one again. We’ll have to wait and see how things turn out.”

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