The Ashes 2013-14 October 25, 2013

Tymal Mills to help with Ashes preparations

ESPNcricinfo staff

Tymal Mills, the Essex left-arm fast bowler, will fly to Australia at the weekend to help England with their preparations for the Ashes and a potential reacquaintance with the in-form Mitchell Johnson.

Mills, 21, is part of the Performance Squad which will be based in Australia from mid-November until shortly before Christmas, but is now leaving three weeks ahead of his team-mates to be part of England's warm-up period which begins in Perth where the squad arrived on Thursday.

Although England have a battery of tall and quick bowlers, they do not have a left-arm pacer in the 17-man party. It is the missing ingredient that David Saker, the bowling coach, often talks about. England have not had a left-arm pace bowler since the retirement of Ryan Sidebottom.

Mills tweeted: "Very exciting/busy few days/weeks ahead!!! Flying off to Aus on Sunday to help The England side with their prep for the ashes!"

He caused England a few alarms ahead of the home Ashes when he struck Graeme Swann on the arm during the warm-up match involving Essex at Chelmsford. For a short while there were fears that Swann had suffered a break and Mills' hostility caught the eye of England's Test squad and team director Andy Flower.

After the match against Essex last July, Flower said: "His rate of progress is really exciting for Essex. His control has improved and he's really impressive physically. If he continues he might play for England."

The call-up for Mills is another example of how Flower is methodical in his planning and preparation. Johnson's recent ODI form in England and now India, has propelled him towards being a likely starter in the Brisbane Test - especially due to the injury to Mitchell Starc - and Flower will not want his batting line-up caught out by Johnson who, though erratic, can produce devastating bursts.

England have a couple of days off in Perth after arriving late on Thursday, and begin training on Sunday ahead of their first warm-up match against Western Australia XI on October 31.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on October 26, 2013, 12:27 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Sponge on (October 26, 2013, 7:18 GMT), when you say that talk of potential is nonsense, presumably you're talking about Warner, Hughes, Khawaja, Watson, etal.

  • David on October 26, 2013, 10:51 GMT

    @landl47 and @SDH12. Yes I see where you are coming from. I haven't seen Mills bowl but if he is very quick and has a tendency to spray it about he will be the perfect warm-up for Johnson!

  • W on October 26, 2013, 7:18 GMT

    Mills might get a game after the England bowlers are battered. It would be good to see, there's nothing like real pace against the top order. I get the feeling Johnson will click this series and will be far to hot to handle for an England top order that was in all sorts of bother during the Ashes. Let's face it, Root is a bunny, Cook may never rediscover his form, Bairstow has had his chance, Trott will get bounced out, Prior hasn't scored a run for a year and Bell can't save the team every game. KP will always make a score here a d there. Talk of 'potential' is nonsense. Yeah it was 3-0 but as another article rightfully mentioned it was a close series and Australia had a crowbar in the safe in every match, even at Lords. They will have learned from that.

  • Ohhhh on October 26, 2013, 0:28 GMT

    Not very useful for England as Mills is actually half decent and can move the ball in the air (probably quicker too!). Therefore he will be preparing them to face some actual decent quick left arm bowling!

    Then Mitchell Johnson will rock up at the GABBA and spray it all over the shop, finishing with figures in the match of 2-232 (Dismissing Jimmy Anderson twice!!!)!

  • Samuel on October 25, 2013, 17:24 GMT

    @aq111 - this isn't about 'who deserves a go' but more about meticulous preparation. Whilst Barker is a fine bowler, he isn't exactly like-for-like with Mitchell Johnson; he's much slower and more of a classic English swing bowler. Mills is quite similar in many ways; a tearaway quick, capable of pure devastation but also of spraying it all over the shop I might add! Just seems good planning from Flower.

  • John on October 25, 2013, 16:53 GMT

    Mills is very fast and very wild. Hmmm- I wonder who England think he might prepare them to face?

    In the long term, if Mills can develop his control, he might be a real candidate for international honours. As of now, Reece Topley looks the better prospect as a left-armer.

    @aq111: I think you've missed the point. Mills is there to be a practice bowler for the England batsmen. I don't think there's much danger of England doing an Agar and picking him for the tests. There are several bowlers sitting in England who would be ahead of Mills in the pecking order- Onions, Jordan, Woakes, to name a few. Barker doesn't offer the same opportunity for practice against a really quick left-armer as Mills does. He's not being overlooked, he simply doesn't fit what England needs right now.

  • Dummy4 on October 25, 2013, 15:03 GMT

    I'm surprised Johnson didn't play in the last Ashes to be honest. He was pretty devastating against Sri Lanka at the end of 2012 and has continued from there.

    He's not just bowling fast, but he's dangerous as the Sri Lankans found out to their peril.

    This is a good move from England though, hopefully with better preparation we won't fail in the 1st test as we always seem to do away from home!

  • Rayner on October 25, 2013, 14:31 GMT

    Surely Johnson's form can't continue past 2 ODI series, or so history would tell us that he's due a bad one!

  • David on October 25, 2013, 13:39 GMT

    If England want a left-arm quick how about Keith Barker of Warwickshire? He already averages 28 with the bat and 25 with the ball and is improving further with every season. He's a big lad, hits the deck hard and can swing it both ways. Is he destined to be one of the forgotten men of English Cricket...surely deserves a go before Tymal Mills.

  • Mark on October 25, 2013, 12:55 GMT

    This is typical of Andy Flower's careful approach. He wants to avoid any repetition of what happened in the UAE last year. I agree with @jmc: Mitch J. is a curious case. He has been reborn several times, but his match-winning performances in Tests tend to be rare but can be devastating (in the Brisbane Test in 2010 he took an eye-watering 0-170 at 4-an-over but then, after missing the 2nd Test, took 9-82 in the 3rd). His low arm action means that if his timing is just slightly wrong the ball will fly wildly towards second slip. He is Australia's Steve Harmison: you never know what you are going to get, but when it clicks, it can be devastating.

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