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EXCLUSIVE: Virat Kohli is the most passionate guy I have ever met on the field, says ex-RCB pacer Tymal Mills – Times Now

Tymal Mills interview

Tymal Mills played 5 matches for RCB in IPL 2017 where he picked 5 wickets.& 

Key Highlights

  • Royal Challengers Bangalore had bought Tymal Mills for Rs 12 crore in 2017
  • The England pacer had a good outing against India in a T20I series ahead of the auction
  • Mills shared his experience of playing under Virat Kohli and his desire to return back to playing in IPL

To play in the Indian Premier League (IPL) is a dream for any cricketer. While the tournament has given Indian cricket enormous talent since its inception in 2008, it has also offered lucrative contracts to several overseas cricketers, one of them being England pacer Tymal Mills. After a good show against India in a T20 series, Mills was roped in by Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) for a whopping sum of Rs 12 crore.

However, his maiden IPL season was not a memorable one as Mills managed to pick just 5 wickets in as many matches. Since then, Mills has not featured in the IPL.

Speaking to timesnownews.com, Mills shared his experience of playing under Virat Kohli and explained why IPL is the best T20 league in the world. Mills lauded Kohli as the ‘most passionate guy he has seen on the cricket field’ and said he wants to make a comeback in the IPL as the tournament hasn’t seen the best of him yet.

You did well in the T20 series against India which then had players like MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh and Virat Kohli. How tough it is for an overseas fast bowler to bowl against India in India.

I think the main challenge is your mental state, how your deal with the occasion, the situation. At that time, that was only my 2nd, 3rd, 4th international game. At that time, I was very naive to the situation, it was my first time in India I had not played in front of crowds of that size. I had played at the MCG not long before but it was not a full house, it was just a third full so the atmosphere was not the same.

You have to ignore who is on the other end and just focus on yourself, as hard as it may be, be but it is something I am very good at, something I have been good at in my career and has served me well. Just focus on yourself. I could be playing a club game in the local park, or Sussex, or Bangalore, Nagpur, Kanpur – wherever the game might have been. So just trying to focus much on yourself and not getting too caught up in everything else.

You did well in the series against India following which you bagged a big contact from RCB. That season, you picked 5 wickets from 5 matches. What did you think of your performance and does the price tag play a big role in a player’s performance in the IPL?

Ya look, it is disappointing to look back at it. I haven’t been back since. IPL definitely did not see the best of me. Unfortunately, I had an injury, strained my hamstring, struggled to play, In the game, I did OK, I didn’t do terribly but did not do fantastically either. With such a price tag, expectations rise externally, I understand that.

I must say that when I arrived at RCB, I was made to feel no pressure from anyone at Bangalore. They bought me because they wanted me but it was not a case of you must perform. The management, the higher-ups within the organization were very good, there was no pressure from up above or anything like that.
 
Just about my personal pride, I take pride in my performance, I was disappointed on the whole in how the competition went. As I said, it did not see the best of me. I have not been back since. I feel like that big price tag has hampered me since. If you look at it from purely money to wickets taken ratio, you can say that. If I had a whole season to play which I was not able to do, I feel I would have performed at a good level. I am very keen to get back, I am doing my best to try and get back. That’s where I want to be. Playing for IPL, playing for England, I hope the IPL has not seen the last of me.  

You have been a part of both IPL as well as the PSL. How different are the two tournaments according to you?

IPL is the biggest league in the world. nobody can ever deny it. I have seen that and experienced it on and off the field. Every game is played out in front of full crowds in front of 30000-40000 people right up to 75000 at Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Now, of course, the new stadium in Ahmedabad will beat that. So just in terms of magnitude and all things away from cricket, most evenings you have a sponsor you something to do, an engagement, a commercial shoot, a signing. There are a lot of things to do away from cricket which is not the worst thing since you have a lot of free time as well. It’s a huge tournament.

PSL I have played for 4 years. The first happened in UAE which is not ideal for crowds and atmosphere. But I was lucky enough to go to Pakistan a few times now to play in Pakistan. Last year, I played a whole edition which was held in Pakistan, there the crowds were brilliant. The stadiums are the same sizes as India, they are largely sold out and there is a real passion. On the field, the PSL is tough as an overseas fast bowler because there are so many quick bowlers in Pakistan, the balance of teams is different. Mostly all overseas players are top-order batsmen whereas in IPL, it’s a bit more of a mixture depending on what your team structure is, whereas in Pakistan, you have two and sometimes even four overseas batsmen and maybe just one overseas bowler because bowling stock is so good, they favor the local talent.

The IPL is the highest standard. All countries are available. The money is obviously there. The environment breeds success. Only the best survive. If you don’t perform, you get moved on and someone else comes in. That’s the environment of IPL and that’s why it is the number one T20 league in the world.

How was the experience of playing under Virat Kohli? What impressed you the most about his captaincy?

Virat missed the first two games that season, He had a shoulder injury. AB de Villiers was captain for the first couple of games. I think I played under Virat for 2-3 games after that. He is the most passionate guy I have ever met on the field. Towards the end of the season, we were at the bottom of the table, we were obviously out but he was still as fired up for those last games as he was when the games really mattered at the start of the tournament, celebrating wickets as you see him really pumped up, really fired up.

So yes, it was very cool to play under him. You have to be quite strong in yourself. He will come to you and tell you he wants to change the field but if you don’t think so, you can tell him, he will listen to you. Some of the younger guys, especially the younger Indian guys might struggle with it because it’s Virat Kohli, it’s MS Dhoni, it’s Rohit Sharma, you don’t want to voice your opinions. But as an overseas player, you have to give your side and the captain will listen to you and Virat as one of those guys

Away from the field, he was just a normal guy. He was in the gym a lot with his then-fiancee now wife (Anushka Sharma). Just a cool guy, it was a good experience getting to know him a little bit.

In nets, you would have bowled to two prolific run-scorers in Kohli and AB de Villiers. What were the conversations you had with them?

It was strange because I was a bit surprised, as you know, IPL squads are really big. The net times are very short and everyone needs to get a net session. Virat, ABD, Gayle would go to nets for an hour with Trent Woodhill, the batting coach at that time. So by the time we came, they would have a short hit against some of the bowlers and then get done with it. They obviously fully participated in the fielding, we played football together but they obviously identified they needed a longer hit. It surprised me at the time as I was very young only 23 or so. But any opportunity you get to bowl at those guys, spend time around those, some of the biggest names in world cricket, you will be foolish to not pick up their brains.

What’s your take on Dale Steyn’s comment where he said cricket takes a backseat in the IPL where there is more focus on the price tag of a player?

I think he said later on that it was taken slightly out of context. As I have said, I have been lucky enough to play in the majority of the leagues around the world. When you get bought for big money, people will talk about it because it’s news. You can’t expect anything less in my opinion. People will talk behind your back, people will talk on your face, the media will talk, people on social media will talk. Whereas in other leagues, the money is not as high as other leagues as IPL, it is less of a talking point. There is still good money in the PSL, BBL, The Hundred but it is lesser money, it is not life-changing money for most people. So I think what he was saying was that in other leagues, there is not any talk of money whereas, in the IPL, there is a lot of talk around money because some of the money is eye-watering type of money. Steyn himself has had such a wonderful career. He is getting towards the end of it now maybe his priorities have changed in what tournament he wants to play or how he approaches life in general. I don’t know Steyn well, I haven’t spoken to him about this but I think it was taken a bit out of context.

During 2016-17, you were one of the most talked-about players in England’s T20 circuit. Since then, several injuries have kept you out. What do you think of your chances of representing England again?

Look, as I said, since the IPL, I have struggled with injuries. I haven’t had a period of a year without having some sort of injury and that has really hampered me. When I have played, I think I played to a good level and felt back to my best but then had another injury and you are out for a while, very frustrating and it wears you down. I am not a goal-driven person in terms of cricket but if I had two goals, I would want to represent England and once again play in the IPL before the end of my career.

I am still young. I am still only 28 and still have a lot of years of good bowling in me. I obviously had a lot of success early in my career. I am still bowling fast. Last summer, in some of the games we played, I was bowling at 93 miles per hour. So the pace is still there. I am still taking wicktes. I back myself to perform at a good level if I stay fit. That is my only focus at the moment and I trust in my abilities around it and things will fall into place.

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Several England players and ECB officials have given credit to the IPL  for helping England improve its performances in white-ball cricket. Your views?

No doubt. When you play in the IPL, you are playing against the best in the world more often not. You look at every team, it is stacked with high-quality players. You will have a bench of world-class players who cannot get into the team. You are going to become a better player after playing in IPL. Every game is a high-pressure environment playing in front of 40-50 thousand people every night in, night out, learning how to deal with that atmosphere. That is not something you get anywhere else in the world. When you go back to your domestic competition, you are not overawed by crowds. Nothing beats fanfare of that level. I massively agree, exposing yourself to IPL, playing in India or in the subcontinent in general, to anywhere you can get a full house. Even as a person, it broadens your horizon. You mix with different cultures, you learn different things.

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