March 10 2014 Latest news:
By Charlie Talbot-Smith
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Mitchell Johnson is not the only left armer with express pace that has left England battered and bruised this winter Down Under.
Indeed Tymal Mills’ time in Australia, as part of the England Performance Programme that is shadowing the Test side, has only enhanced his burgeoning reputation.
Alastair Cook’s peach of a bruise on his right shoulder was courtesy of Mills’ handiwork in the nets, a video of the Essex tyro sending Ian Bell’s off-stump cartwheeling backwards has also proved a hit on the internet.
And the 21-year-old has not just been a net bowler in Australia, three wickets in his first eight deliveries against Western Australia 2nd XI this week prove his form has been translated out into the middle.
Andy Flower and co drafted Mills in ahead of the rest of the EPP programme to try a replicate the threat of Johnson in the nets and Mills has loved every minute of being involved.
“I have been out here getting on for five weeks now,” he said.
“I’ve been all around the country and it’s been great to be outside as opposed to just bowling in the nets over the winter.
“It’s been a really good experience, they have not bowled me into the ground, I’ve been able to come in and out.
“I have had the chance to bowl in front of all the people that matter.
“To hang around with the England senior guys and hopefully give a good impression of myself.
“You have got to earn the right to get into the Test side. This was a great opportunity to showcase what I am all about, to put myself in the shop window as it were.
“It’s been a pretty simple plan for me this winter really, consistency.
“I just have to keep working on bowling that full length so I can bring all three forms of dismissals into play.
“I have played a bit with my run-up as well and the change has gone well, the more I bowl the better I feel.”
If Mills is to harbour realistic goals of breaking into the England Test side then his first focus will have to be with Essex.
The left-armer only has 18 first class appearances to his name so far in his career and found himself left out of the four-day team for the majority of the 2013 County Championship.
And Mills admits that his thoughts are already on Chelmsford and hitting the ground running next campaign in a bid to build on the solid foundations laid this winter.
“At Essex I have been in an out of the side, I lost my place in the four day side at the start of the season,” he added.
“So this winter the aim is to put in the hard work so that when pre-season comes around I am in the best possible position to challenge.
“With Reece [Topley] and David [Willey] here as well it is clear that England are keeping an eye on left-armers.
“Obviously we do offer something a bit different and England have not had that for a while but I know I have to get a couple of seasons of county cricket under my belt.
“Mitchell Johnson has obviously been a huge success this summer.
“I would not say he is an influence on me, everyone goes about their business in their own way.
“So he is not someone I am trying to emulate in that sense, but of course to have the sort of success he is having at the moment would be great.”
•Follow the England Performance Programme squad and their progress this winter at www.ecb.co.uk/epp