MILLS BRUSHES OFF RETIREMENT TALK TO EARN ENGLAND CALL-UP

ENGLAND CALLING: Tymal Mills good form for Sussex has been rewarded with an England Twenty20 call-up. Picture: Phil Westlake
ENGLAND CALLING: Tymal Mills good form for Sussex has been rewarded with an England Twenty20 call-up. Picture: Phil Westlake
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Tymal Mills believes that his maiden call-up to the England Twenty/20 squad is reward for the perseverance that he has shown over the last 12 months.

The English Cricket Board confirmed on Monday that the former Mildenhall College Academy pupil was one of 13 players that had made the cut for the one-off game against Sri Lanka at the Ageas Bowl on July 5.

However, it could have been a much different scenario for Mills, who contemplated retiring over a long-standing back problem.

The 23-year-old bowler was tested for a number of serious conditions, including multiple sclerosis, before eventually he was diagnosed with a congenital back condition.

It causes a narrowing of the spinal cord and means that ambitions of playing first-class cricket, where prolonged stints with the ball in hand are required, have been shelved.

Instead, a fitness programme was devised with the medical staff at Sussex for Mills to thrive in the shortest format of the game and he has done just that this year, taking six wickets in four NatWest T20 Blast outings ahead of last night’s game with Middlesex.

Such form did not go unnoticed by the selectors, who answered calls from the likes of former England captain Nasser Hussain to give the ex-Mildenhall and Tuddenham player a chance on the international stage.

“This time last year there was some talk about me retiring and now I have come full circle,” Mills told the Free Press.

“It has been a long slog and there was plenty of ugly work to do over the winter, but I just got my head down.

“It shows that the decision to carry on was completely justified.

“The call was a bit of a surprise, but I am in good shape, feeling confident and cannot wait to get involved.”

It is the left-armer’s ability to bowl at over 90mph that singles him out from his peers in this country.

Such a quality was in evidence earlier this month when a yorker clocked at 93.3mph wiped out the stumps of West Indies legend Chris Gayle, playing for Somerset, live on Sky Sports.

“It always helps bowling well live on TV,” added Mills.

“As county bowlers, it does not happen for us often so you need to make the most of it.

“Getting Gayle has earned me more recognition and it will not have hurt my England chances.

“I was pumped up because he is always the important wicket.”