Tuesday, 28 June 2016

A view outside the Shire: Tymal Mills

Everyone knows that the good people of the West Country are parochial folk. We don't like venturing too far from home. We aren't often concerned about the goings on any further than the end of our road. But the Jessop Tavern is about breaking boundaries, forging ahead into untried territories, so for the first time in 6 years, a piece about something outside the Shire.

Tymal Mills. Congenital back condition. 90mph speed merchant. T20 only. England call up.

At the start of the month Tymal Mills was given his first call up to the England T20 squad. Mills had been touted for England before. Before the last ashes tour he was mentioned as the English equivalent of Mitchell Johnson, despite having only played a handful of first class matches. Such is the desire for fast bowlers who can top 90 mph consistently. Last year Mills had to call time on his first class career at the tender age of 23 due to his back condition. Since then he has set his sights on forging a career in T20 cricket, with a doctor's note tucked firmly in his pocket should Andrew Strauss start tutting once again.

Mills has essentially become cricket's Ledley King. He plays one T20 a week and bowls a few 5 over spells in the nets. If bowling is all about rhythm and getting overs in you then Mills is a very modern anti-tradition practitioner. How workable this is as a way of managing his body could have interesting implications for the old boy coaching manuals.

So it was with interest that the Jessop Tavern took its seat at Arundel and watched Mills get to work. Over the years we have seen plenty of young tearaway quicks. The Jessop Tavern has fond memories of an entertaining West Indies A game at Cheltenham many moons ago that featured a small, fiery kid called Tino Best. Tino roared in, had a follow through that ended past the stumps at the batsman's end and literally terrorised every Gloucestershire batsman who faced him. Tim Hancock took to 'giving himself room' outside leg stump every ball. Quite a long way outside leg stump as well.

So how quick was Mills? Well, disappointingly slow if we are honest. Even on a sluggish wicket you would expect him to still generate enough pace through the air to get the crowd oohhing and aahhhing. Not really. Mills did seem to have a steady diet of slower balls, bowled in a few different ways. All of which the Jessop Tavern was picking from its seat at backward square leg. There were wides. There were byes. There was Benny launching him over the hospitality tents. Twice.

In short the Jessop Tavern was left slightly disappointed by England's latest T20 discovery. Less Mitchell Johnson, a bit more Jade Dernbach, but with less hair.

The Jessop Tavern is now heading back indoors having taken its first foray into looking at the outside world. Deep breaths. It'll be fine.

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