Tymal Mills looks ahead to IPL campaign
Keith Gillespie — the former Manchester United, Newcastle United and Northern Ireland winger — once told this writer how he struggled to cope with the fame and fortune that comes with being a Premier League footballer.
Gillespie’s vice was gambling, to the point where he estimates having flitted away more than £7m down the years.
His is an all-too-familiar story of a young sporting talent being thrust head first into the limelight, only to receive bad advice, fall in with the wrong crowd or simply make wrong decisions — sometimes all three are at play.
Tymal Mills, though, is adamant he will steer well clear of those traps after making worldwide headlines during last month’s Indian Premier League auction.
The former Mildenhall and Tuddenham cricketer entered himself into the draft at the base price of £60,000, yet ended it as a millionaire.
A host of franchises entered the bidding for the 24-year-old’s services — and it was Royal Challengers Bangalore that won the race, forking out a record £1.4m for a bowler to do so.
It is a deal that has changed Mills’ life forever, but there is one person in particular who will be ensuring he remains on the straight and narrow.
“My mum is great. She will tell me off if I spend too much on trainers!,” said the England left-armer.
“There is no way she will let me change and I do not intend to either.
“I will still have the same mates — the ones I went to school with and the ones I have made through cricket.
“There have been a few wise-cracks from my friends already: ‘Oh, Tymal will buy it’, but I would not have it any other way.
“Other things have changed, I have to accept that — there are financial advisors and accountants now.
“The money is a bit mad and it does not feel completely real yet.
“It will probably not completely sink in until the money starts coming in.”
Talk, unlike Mills’ IPL contract, is of course cheap, but the decisiveness in the ex-Mildenhall College Academy student’s voice as he chats with The Journal on his way back to his hometown Brandon before flying out to India, suggests he means business.
And he will need those levels of conviction in spades once RCB’s campaign gets under way against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Wednesday, April 5.
Mills — England’s second most expensive export behind Ben Stokes — is well aware that every single one of his deliveries throughout the six weeks will be heavily scrutinised over and over again.
The pressure would test even the most strongest of minds. But after impressing during England’s recent Twenty/20 tour of India with a three-wicket haul, Mills is convinced he will cope.
“Bad games will happen and if that is the case for me in India, I know people will be ready to pass comment and judgement,” said Brighton-based Mills, who only plays the shortest format of the game due to a well documented back condition.
“But I believe in my ability and back myself to do well.
“Bangalore is a small ground, and because of that teams can score a lot of runs.
“As a bowler you have to accept that and be realistic with your targets. Sometimes going for 30 or 35 runs will be good.
“I have learned not to beat myself up if things do not go well.
“Just like in my personal life, nothing will change about my performance just because of the fee.
“I will keep doing what has got me this far.”