Left-arm death specialist last played for England in 2017 but ‘could present a really strong case’
Preliminary squads for October’s T20 World Cup are due to be named in mid-September and England are only scheduled to play three more T20Is – against Pakistan in July – before that date, meaning plans are at an advanced stage. They will then play bilateral series away in Bangladesh and Pakistan before the tournament.
Mills, the Sussex fast bowler, played the most recent of his four T20Is for England in India in 2017. He has struggled with injuries since, but his high pace, left-arm angle and record at the death means he remains on England’s radar.
Speaking after England’s 89-run thrashing of Sri Lanka at the Ageas Bowl to seal a 3-0 series win, Morgan, England’s limited-overs captain, said that there were “probably half a dozen” places nailed down within the World Cup squad, but that the door was open to standout performers in domestic cricket and, in particular, the Hundred.
“I always say that guys can present their best case if they’re playing good, competitive cricket,” he said. “Looking at the teams or the squads in the Hundred, they’re extremely strong, so you’d expect the standard and the pressure to be quite high throughout the tournament.
“If everybody was fit, I don’t think there are many [spots] nailed down – there’s probably half a dozen. There’s a significant period of time [before the World Cup]. We’re dealing with experienced guys within, say, the 17 or 18 that have been involved [and] There are guys playing in the Hundred like Tymal Mills who could easily present a case.
“He is an outstanding bowler and we’ve always been in communication with him, wanting him to get fit, play as much cricket as possible, and leave him alone until the World Cup comes. Playing for Sussex – given the journey that he’s been on – on a regular basis, is way better for him than trying to get fit for sporadic T20 series through the year. He’s a good example, along with a few other guys, that could present a really strong case throughout the Hundred.”
In particular, Mills is seen as an option to help England with their death bowling, which Morgan has repeatedly highlighted as an area of concern this week. “When we go away from home, it’s an area that we can certainly improve on against the best sides in the world,” he told the BBC after Thursday’s second T20I.
“The two most challenging parts of bowling are in the powerplay and at the death,” he added on Saturday. “The powerplay, we’re making inroads with; the death, in this series, we haven’t been tested, really. the whole season, we might see with the grounds that we shift to in some of the one-day games and maybe some of the T20 games, that certain grounds have certain wickets and therefore bowlers are under more pressure – which is a good thing.”
“Throughout this period of where we’re at, the more curveballs that we can be thrown the better. You have a real strong backbone if you have replacements for guys who are either injured or being rotated or rested.”
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98