Tymal Mills not overawed by raised expectations
TYMAL Mills is fully aware of the expectations now placed on his broad shoulders.
The 19-year-old Suffolk-raised Essex bowler has made a rapid rise to prominence in the past 12 months.
But while he has not been left pinching himself at the speed of his development, Mills is anything but overawed by the company he is now keeping.
Mills, who did not start playing until he was 14 and only took up cricket seriously two years later, had not even made his first-class debut a year ago. He has effectively gone from the Essex Academy and having played a handful of 2nd XI matches to representing the England Lions in the space of a year.
Such was the impression that he made in 2011 that he was included in the Potential England Performance Squad, spending the first part of the winter training at the National Cricket Performance Centre at Loughborough. He was set to go off to Chennai in India before being called up to tour Bangladesh with the England Lions. He made his debut for England Lions in the fifth and final unofficial one-day international against Bangladesh A at the Sylhet Stadium in January, taking one for 22 off 7.2 overs as the Lions won by six wickets but lost the series 3-2.
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Mills, whose family moved to Brandon when he was just two years old and whose skills were nurtured at Mildenhall Cricket Club, said: “I wasn’t in the original squad, but then Ajmal Shahzad got injured which gave me the opportunity and I was over the moon to be selected.
“I had gone from doing a little bit of work at Loughborough with the Potential England Performance Squad to working with the England Performance Squad and the opportunity to tour abroad as well.”
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Mills has taken each step up the ladder in his stride, and has not been fazed by the speed of his progress.
“It has been fantastic. I wouldn’t say I am pinching myself – I just try not to get too nervous about it and put too much pressure on myself. I try to enjoy it and give it 100 per cent. That was how I approached this winter. I tried not to let it overawe me or anything and just got stuck in and tried not to have any regrets.”
But he is also street-wise enough to know that his emergence means that opponents are now aware of him, removing the element of surprise that accompanies the arrival of any newcomer.
“People know who I am a bit more. The players who I am now playing against know me whereas last year not many people knew who I was, so there is a little bit more expectation, but I am not going to let it overawe me or put too much pressure on myself.
“I think you always perform best when you are enjoying it and are focused on what you want to do, so I am going to hopefully continue to take whatever opportunities come my way.”