Due to a re-opened stress fracture, Tymal Mills had to wear a back brace for the third consecutive month at the time of the previous IPL auction. At the time, it would have seemed a stupid guess to suggest he would add to the five matches he had played in the competition – all for Royal Challengers Bangalore as a INR 12.5 crore (£ 1.4 million) signing back in 2017.
Some franchises had made their interest clear in signing Mills as a replacement for the second half of the 2021 season, only to find out that his decision not to give his name for the auction due to injury made him unavailable. And this year, his capability worked for him, as Mumbai Indians won the bidding war against Sunrisers Hyderabad and Punjab Kings to sign him for INR 1.5 crore (£ 147,000).
Mills’ T20 career has been revived this year all because of a prolonged period of fitness, with a thigh strain that cut his World Cup short being the only major exception. He played every game for Southern Brave in the Hundred – with Jayawardene as head coach – and performed brilliantly for Sussex, and has backed up an excellent summer with a solid winter, being one of the champions at the Abu Dhabi T10 and the Big Bash between England commitments.
Mills on being brought by Mumbai Indians in the IPL Mega-auction
“I knew that they were interested,” he said. “Mahela [Jayawardene, Mumbai’s head coach] sent me a text saying that they were nominating me as part of the accelerated process, and checking in to make sure I was fit and well. That settled the nerves a little bit but you never know, do you?
“I was a bit nervous watching it unfold, so it was obviously nice to get that first bid in and then you’re waiting to see where you’re going to end up. It’s great to be back with Mahela, and obviously Mumbai are a storied franchise. Everyone that’s played for them speaks really highly of how they look after their players so I can’t wait to get out there.”
“You never want to go for less money – anyone that says they do is probably lying – but I set a relatively low base price [INR 1 crore/£ 100,000] because I just want to get out there and play, really. I wanted to set myself a price where I was a bit more attractive and I’m not too worried about the money side of it: if you do well and you’re part of a successful team, that takes care of itself.”