The first Test between England and New Zealand, played at Lord’s ended in a draw. The second Test will be played in Birmingham starting June 10.
England are scheduled to play a full Test series against India, starting August 4 at Trent Bridge in Nottingham.
“They’re (England) playing New Zealand right now. The series against New Zealand will be big practice. A win against New Zealand will be a huge confidence factor against India. I am sure England will be relishing the opportunity of having a really competitive and long series against obviously a very strong Indian side,” Mills, who has played 5 T20 internationals so far, told Timesofindia.com in an exclusive interview.
Joe Root during the first Test against New Zealand (Reuters photo)
Mills at one time was seen as a hot property in English cricketing circles, with the ability to bowl in excess of 90mph. In 2015 however he was diagnosed with a congenital back condition. T20 was the only format Mills could play from thereon.
He has played 5 T20Is, after having made his debut in 2016. Three of them were against India in Jan-Feb 2017. In that series, Mills was one of the standout players. His figures of 3/94 in the 12 overs he bowled across the 3 matches were not sensational, but he hit high speeds consistently. It in fact also resulted in a Rs 12 crore bid from RCB in the IPL the same year.
Mills though hasn’t played for England since then. Regular injuries have stopped him from cementing his place in the England T20I side. He did feature in a West Indies vs ICC World XI T20 match at Lord’s in 2018. He bowled three overs, giving away 13 runs and was wicket-less in the game.
Mills has three international wickets under his belt, all three were taken against India (2017) and has also played for teams like Brisbane Heat, Chittagong Vikings, Hobart Hurricanes, Karachi Kings, Quetta Gladiators in T20 leagues around the world. He also played 5 matches for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 2017 season.
Mills feels the England team in their own conditions, in the Test series vs India, will be formidable despite being up against the number 1 Test team in the world – India, especially considering they have the services of quality fast bowlers like James Anderson (616 Test wickets) and Stuart Broad (518 Test wickets), who also happen to be the two most successful bowlers in English Test history and sit at fourth and seventh places respectively in the all time list for most Test wickets. Anderson and Broad are also part of the ongoing Test series against New Zealand.
“It is always amazing to see how well England play and adapt to their own conditions. I’m sure they’ll have the conditions to suit though their bowlers, Anderson and Broad in English conditions are world-class. They have been here for such a long time. I’m sure they will continue to be for much longer also. The way they (England) were defeated in India recently (India won 4 Test series 3-1), they’ll be looking to make amends for that,” the 28-year-old England pacer further told TimesofIndia.com.
Mills, who has played T20Is against Sri Lanka, India, and West Indies, is currently looking forward to a successful English summer with Sussex.
“It was a tough year. My daughter was born at the start of the last lockdown in July last year. I got to spend lots of time at home with the family when otherwise I would have been playing cricket. So that was nice. And then we managed to still play a truncated T20 Blast last summer. So, it was just delayed a little bit and they had to make the competition a little bit shorter. But it was nice to play some cricket at the back end of the summer. Apart from that, I’m now looking forward to the English summer this year,” Mills signed off.