Coach Kevin Boardman hails rapid rise of protege Tymal Mills

THE coach who nurtured the development of Essex and England Under-19 bowler Tymal Mills has hailed the progress of his protege.

Mildenhall Cricket Club coach Kevin Boardman was largely responsible for overseeing the rise of the fast bowler, who didn’t take up cricket until he was 14 and only started playing seriously two years later.

Mills has shot to prominence in the past 12 months, touring Sri Lanka with England Under-19s last winter before making his first-class debut for Essex in June.

The 19-year-old was then selected on the England Performance Programme in October and spent the first part of this winter training at the National Cricket Performance Centre in Loughborough and has also undertaken training in India and South Africa.

Just before Christmas Mills was included in the England Lions tour party which departs for Bangladesh on January 12.

The 15-man squad will take part in a seven-match series of Under-19 One-Day internationals against their hosts, starting in Chittagong on January 20.

Mildenhall youth coach Boardman said: “Everybody at the club is so pleased with what he has achieved. Every time there has been the opportunity for him to go that little bit further in his career he has taken it with both hands.

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“He has not been overawed at any stage in the last couple of years with all the different things that have happened to him. He is a very level-headed and focused young man, and it could not happen to a nicer person.

“He came back to the club after touring Sri Lanka last winter and handed over some equipment to one of our 10-year-olds and spoke to him, swapping stories. He is a real club man from that point of view.

“When he was suffering from a groin strain last year and could not bowl he was quite happy to go and play as a batsman for our 3rd XI, and there are not players who get to his standard who are happy to do that.

“We could not wish to have a better role model for all our youth team players at the club. If they all stay as focused and become clubmen as good as he has it would be absolutely lovely.”

Mills said: “I wasn’t expecting to be called up if I’m honest, so it came as a really nice surprise just before Christmas. I’ve worked hard and hopefully that has made the difference. I’m now just really looking forward to going on tour in the New Year.”