England fast bowler Tymal Mills says he is still coming to terms with becoming a millionaire cricketer after IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore paid $1.8m for his services at this week’s auction.
It is a remarkable turn of events for Mills, who two years ago was forced to pursue a career as a freelance T20 cricketer due to a congenital back injury.
The 24-year-old feared for his life when the spinal condition took grip, doctors testing Mills for multiple sclerosis as the then 22-year-old faced the prospect of cruel early retirement from all forms before being given the green light to forge ahead as a T20 globetrotter.
He hasn’t looked back since and over the past seven months he has made his England T20I debut and played franchise cricket in New Zealand, Bangladesh, Australia and, now, the UAE in the Pakistan Super League.
For all of those leagues, Mills went in with low base prices as part of a wider plan to give himself visibility, a move that has obviously paid off.
“All the gigs I’ve played for this winter, I’ve gone in at pretty minimal price, just to try and get my face out there, play cricket and get my profile up,” Mills told Sport360 at his PSL team Quetta Gladiators’ training in Dubai.
And it had the desired effect, a life-changing moment coming this week when Mills’ hard work and rapid improvement in the format during that time saw him net the bumper IPL contract with RCB after a frantic bidding war for his services.
Two days on, it still hasn’t quite sunk in for Mills.
“It’s surreal, I never expected to go for that much,” he said. “I came in with a pretty low base price, I just wanted to get picked up and to go for that much money is well beyond any expectations I could ever have had.
“The guys keep joking with me and having a bit of banter with me but until the money is in your account it’s not real, is it. It’s still a good few weeks away, I’ve still got this tournament to play out here. I’ve enjoyed all the nice messages I’ve received and I can’t complain.”
And he’s certainly not one to complain.
For all the hardship of the past two years, no-one would begrudge Mills his success and his ability to bowl 90-plus mph is an asset franchises the world over are warming to if they haven’t already.
Having reached the depths of 2015, to now reap such rewards is testament to Mills’ character and the humility he exudes is evident.
“I think us cricketers we often do take it for granted,” said Mills. “You know, flying business class flights, just for example, you take that for granted and they’re a lot of money.
“Every so often we have to try and remember how lucky we are and just enjoy that I’m still able to play cricket and hopefully things will continue to go up.”
Mills’ deal with RCB was headline news and his Quetta team-mate Kevin Pietersen described it as a “slap in the face for Test cricket” on Twitter.
According to Mills, it was an unfortunate phrase taken the wrong way.
“They see whatever Kev writes and assume that he’s being negative. If you see the tweets afterwards he was complimentary of myself,” added Mills.
“The language is what it is, I’m not sure ‘a slap in the face’ is right but depending on how you look at it, obviously I only play T20 cricket and don’t spend days in the field like a lot of the boys do now but that’s just kind of the way things have worked out.”
The Indian Premier League [IPL] auction, which was held on Monday, saw its usual share of surprises with as many as 66 players being bought by various teams.
This year, we saw the likes of Ben Stokes and Tymal Mills fetching huge money as there was a lot of demand for all-rounders and fast bowlers.
There was also some great news for the associate nations with Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan of Afghanistan, and Chirag Suri of the UAE becoming the first players from their respective countries to get picked by an IPL team.
Here, we look at the complete squads of all the franchises ahead of IPL 2017.
Mohammed Shami, Karun Nair, Sam Billings, Shahbaz Nadeem, Jayant Yadav, Amit Mishra, Shreyas Iyer, Zaheer Khan, Sanju Samson, Chris Morris, Carlos Brathwaite, Rishabh Pant, CV Milind, Khaleel Ahmed, Pratyush Singh, Angelo Mathews, Corey Anderson, Kagiso Rabada, Pat Cummins, Ankit Bawne, Aditya Tare, Murugan Ashwin, Navdeep Saini, Shashank Singh, Ben Hilfenhaus, Marlon Samuels.
Probable XI: Pant (wk), Iyer, Nair, Samson, Billings, Brathwaite, Morris, Jayant, Rabada, Mishra, Zaheer (c).
Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, James Faulkner, Brendon McCullum, Aaron Finch, Dwayne Smith, Dinesh Karthik, Dhawal Kulkarni, Praveen Kumar, Andrew Tye, Ishan Kishan, Pradeep Sangwan, Shivil Kaushik, Shadab Jakati, Jaydev Shah, Nathu Singh, Basil Thampi, Tejas Singh Baroka, Manpreet Gony, Jason Roy, Munaf Patel, Chirag Suri, Shelly Shaurya, Shubham Agrawal, Pratham Singh, Aksh Deep Nath, Irfan Pathan, Ankit Soni.
Probable XI: McCullum, Smith, Raina (c), Karthik (wk), Bravo, Kishan, Jadeja, Faulkner, Praveen, Kulkarni, Soni.
KINGS XI PUNJAB
David Miller, Manan Vohra, Axar Patel, Murali Vijay, Glenn Maxwell, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Anureet Singh, Sandeep Sharma, Shaun Marsh, Wriddhiman Saha, Nikhil Naik, Mohit Sharma, Marcus Stoinis, KC Cariappa, Armaan Jaffer, Pardeep Sahu, Swapnil Singh, Hashim Amla, Eoin Morgan, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Darren Sammy, T Natarajan, Varun Aaron, Rahul Tewatia, Rinku Singh, Ishant Sharma.
Probable XI: Vohra, Amla, Maxwell (c), Morgan, Miller, Saha (wk), Axar, Sandeep, Aaron, Mohit, Natarajan.
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS
Gautam Gambhir, Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav, Andre Russell, Manish Pandey, Suryakumar Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Robin Uthappa, Shakib Al Hasan, Chris Lynn, Umesh Yadav, Yusuf Pathan, Sheldon Jackson, Ankit Singh Rajpoot, Trent Boult, Chris Woakes, Rishi Dhawan, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Rovman Powell, R Sanjay Yadav, Ishank Jaggi, Darren Bravo, Sayan Ghosh, Colin de Grandhomme.
Probable XI: Gambhir (c), Uthappa, Pandey, Lynn, Pathan, Suryakumar, Woakes, Kuldeep, Narine, Umesh, Boult.
Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga, Hardik Pandya, Parthiv Patel, Harbhajan Singh, Ambati Rayudu, Jasprit Bumrah, Shreyas Gopal, Lendl Simmons, R Vinay Kumar, Mitchell McClenaghan, J Suchith, Siddhesh Lad, Jos Buttler, Nitish Rana, Tim Southee, Jitesh Sharma, Krunal Pandya, Deepak Punia, Nicholas Pooran, Mitchell Johnson, K Gowtham, Karn Sharma, Saurabh Tiwary, Asela Gunaratne, Kulwant Khejroliya.
Probable XI: Rohit (c), Simmons, Rayudu, Buttler (wk), Pollard, H Pandya, K Pandya, Harbhajan, Karn, Malinga, Bumrah.
RISING PUNE SUPERGIANT
MS Dhoni, Ajinkya Rahane, Steve Smith, Faf du Plessis, Ashok Dinda, Ankush Bains, Rajat Bhatia, Ankit Sharma, Ishwar Pandey, Adam Zampa, Jaskaran Singh, Baba Aparajith, Deepak Chahar, Usman Khawaja, Mayank Agarwal, Ben Stokes, Jaydev Unadkat, Rahul Chahar, Saurabh Kumar, Dan Christian, Milind Tandon, Rahul Tripathi, Manoj Tiwary, Lockie Ferguson, Shardul Thakur, Imran Tahir, Washington Sundar.
Probable XI: Rahane, Agarwal, Smith (c), du Plessis, Dhoni (wk), Stokes, Bhatia, Ashwin, Pandey, Zampa, Dinda.
ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE
Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, Shane Watson, Yuzvendra Chahal, Harshal Patel, Mandeep Singh, Adam Milne, Sreenath Aravind, Kedar Jadhav, Stuart Binny, Samuel Badree, Travis Head, Sachin Baby, Iqbal Abdullah, Avesh Khan, Tabraiz Shamsi, Pawan Negi, Tymal Mills, Aniket Choudhary, Praveen Dubey, Billy Stanlake, Vishnu Vinod, Harpreet Singh.
Probable XI: Gayle, Kohli (c), de Villiers, Mandeep, Watson, Jadhav (wk), Negi, Aravind, Choudhary, Chahal, Mills.
David Warner, Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Moises Henriques, Mustafizur Rahman, Naman Ojha, Deepak Hooda, Ricky Bhui, Kane Williamson, Siddarth Kaul, Bipul Sharma, Ashish Nehra, Yuvraj Singh, Ben Cutting, Barinder Sran, Abhimanyu Mithun, Vijay Shankar, Tanmay Agarwal, Mohammad Nabi, Ekalavya Dwivedi, Rashid Khan, Pravin Tambe, Chris Jordan, Ben Laughlin, Mohammed Siraj.
Probable XI: Warner (c), Dhawan, Henriques, Yuvraj, Ojha (wk), Hooda, Nabi, Bipul, Bhuvneshwar, Nehra, Rahman.
A total of 66 players were sold in the Indian Premier League [IPL] auction on Monday, with 39 Indians and 27 foreign cricketers getting snapped up by the franchises.
Here, we look at the top five bargain picks of the auction.
JASON ROY (Gujarat Lions)
The hard-hitting English batsman was touted as one of the hottest properties at the auction, but had to reappear in the second round to find a suitor. With a base price of INR 1 crore [Dh550k], Roy had done his bit well, keeping him within reach of most teams. The surprise came when the Gujarat Lions got him for that base price.
Ruthless in his approach, Roy has been in tremendous form for England and has provided his team with sparkling starts over the course of his ODI and T20 career. He is currently giving enough evidence of his destructive powers in the Pakistan Super League [PSL] for the Lahore Qalandars, having notched up two fifties in six matches.
Jason Roy/Chris Jordan....couple of bargain buys in IPL auction .....😉😉🏏🕌👍— David 'Bumble' Lloyd (@BumbleCricket) February 20, 2017
COREY ANDERSON (Delhi Daredevils)
Delhi Daredevils, known for some ridiculous bids in the earlier auctions, made one of the smartest picks this time around in the form of New Zealand’s Corey Anderson for just INR 1 crore [Dh550k].
Anderson has been a key figure for New Zealand in the shorter formats of the game and put in a few decent performances during his time at the Mumbai Indians in the IPL.
Needing a finisher and someone who can take some seam bowling responsibilities (if Anderson gets back to bowling), the Daredevils have got the perfect player for a brilliant price.
Anderson boasts of a strike-rate of 137.57 in T20Is at an average of close to 23 and has 14 wickets to his name in 29 matches. In the IPL, Anderson betters his average to over 30 at a similar strike-rate, while he also has five wickets.
DARREN SAMMY (Kings XI Punjab)
Kings XI Punjab will be elated with the signature of former West Indies captain Darren Sammy. Boasting the ability to hit the long ball, Sammy can win games on his own at times. In addition, the Caribbean cricketer can also roll his arm over and at INR 30 lakh [Dh165k] is definitely one of the buys of the auction.
Sammy has a strike-rate of close to 150 in T20Is and an average of 15. Considering he bats quite low down the order for the West Indies, these numbers are pretty decent. He also has 44 wickets to his name. In the IPL, although not as destructive, Sammy bats with a strike-rate of 122.40 and has 11 wickets to his name.
He could well be great cover for David Miller and help the Punjab team finish higher than the last place that they have managed over the last two seasons.
MOHAMMAD NABI (Sunrisers Hyderabad)
SunRisers Hyderabad needed a spinner – check; SunRisers Hyderabad needed a lower order hitter – check.
Getting all of that for just INR 30 lakh [Dh165k] – an absolute steal! The defending champions scripted history by bagging the first player from Afghanistan in the IPL in the form of Mohammad Nabi.
A very good spinner and a big-hitter as a batsman, Nabi plugs the gap in the SunRisers’ ranks perfectly.
Nabi has a strike-rate of over 130 in T20Is and has 56 wickets in 52 games. Nabi was also very consistent in the Bangladesh Premier League for the Chittagong Vikings, playing useful knocks and picking up crucial wickets.
MARTIN GUPTILL (Kings XI Punjab)
Guptill faced a similar situation to Jason Roy. He couldn’t find bidders in the first round but was sold at his base price in the second as Kings XI Punjab were looking to add more power up top.
Guptill had a forgettable IPL 2016 for the Mumbai Indians, but that doesn’t take away the ability he possesses. One of the most aggressive batsmen in the game, the Kiwi can be fantastic on his day and single-handedly guide his team to victory.
The 30-year-old has over 1000 runs in T20Is at an average of close to 35 and a strike-rate as high as 131.44. To add to such stats, Guptill is a brilliant fielder. INR 50 lakh [Dh274k] for a talent as good as Guptill has to be considered a real bargain.