Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Safety First as No-Risks Mills Sticks to Twenty20; Paceman Tymal's Healthy Approach

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Safety First as No-Risks Mills Sticks to Twenty20; Paceman Tymal's Healthy Approach

Article excerpt

Byline: Rory Dollard

TYMAL Mills is one of England's most exciting bowlers, and arguably the fastest on the circuit, but he cannot risk his physical or financial health by playing anything longer than Twenty20 cricket. The 24-year-old, who has joined up with England ahead of the threematch series in India, has long been known for his explosive pace and caused an Ashes injury scare in 2013 when he rapped Graeme Swann on the forearm in a warm-up match.

But Mills will never play in an Ashes series himself due to a congenital back condition which means his vertebrae and spinal chord are too close together and flare up when over-exerted.

At just 22 it forced him to ponder retirement, but he settled for a different compromise: focusing on short, sharp blasts in T20 cricket and removing the more demanding formats from his schedule completely. Mills' life now is that of a roving freelance, taking in the domestic competitions of Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Bangladesh and India - if he is picked up at next month's IPL auction.

As much as fans would like to see him toppling stumps at 93mph - like he did to Chris Gayle in a televised match for Sussex last summer - in longer matches, he sees it as too much of a gamble.

"I've spent a lot of time being injured and it's not much fun so I don't want to put myself at risk," he said after reminding team-mates of his speed in a lively net session in Kanpur.

"I want to keep healthy, keep enjoying my own cricket. I'm having a great time travelling around, seeing the world, playing in different competitions and playing well.

"I don't want to jeopardise that at the moment. I'm only 24, so down the line you don't know what could happen, but in the immediate future I'm only looking to play T20s.

"Everything I do is geared towards being the best T20 player I can be. I haven't bowled with a red ball for two years. I literally only bowl with the white Kookaburra.

"One thing I've learned with the injuries I've had and the limitations that I have with my cricket is I've got to train smart, and I've got to play smart. …

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