Prajakta Pawar in Durban
Aces will fight hard tomorrow: Mills
Auckland pacer looks forward to an exciting encounter against DD
Mills, who has been opening the bowling for the Aces, also said that he is enjoying leading the attack and being in the thick of things while discussing his bowling and plans for tomorrow’s match.
Excerpts from his interview:
What’s it like opening the attack for the Auckland Aces?
It is has been good. All the opening bowlers are pleased with the conditions here. The wicket here is a little different. It is a hard and bouncy wicket and not much sideways movement. It is a little more testing here. I enjoy the responsibility of trying to lead the Auckland Aces attack.
You had a good show here in Durban a few years backs in 2007, when you took fiver here against South Africa.
That was pleasing. I remember getting those five wickets against South Africa here. It would be good to replicate that tomorrow.
Has playing a couple of T20 games against India and then the ICC World T20 helped?
I have played a lot of cricket since mid-June and since those T20s against India. My sole focus has been playing T20 cricket and how I am going to bowl my 24 deliveries in each game. So, I am definitely in that sort of mindset as a bowler and it absolutely helps coming into a competition like this on the background of having played a lot of Twenty20 cricket.
What are the variations that you look for?
You always try to stay a step ahead of the opposition batter. There is so much technology around these days so every opposition batter has got a bit of read on you as a bowler. So you need to try and keep mixing it up all the time as a bowler, whether it is slower balls or slow-ball bouncer.
Having variations is good but you have to use them in conjunction with the conditions of the wicket on that day. There is no point in bowling slower balls on a wicket that is not conducive for slow balls. You have to be smart and bowl within your variations and apply them at an appropriate time. If the batsman has been there for a while, it’s not a good idea to bowl short balls. But if a new batsman is at the crease, it is a good idea to bowl short balls. So, you need to adapt as you go along.
What are your plans for the DD batting line-up?
You look at the DD line-up and there is Mahela [Jayawardene] one of the best batters going around in the world going around at the moment. [Virender] Sehwag on his day can take apart any attack. Ross Taylor knows us very very well. Irfan Pathan does a very good job with the bat and you have got Kevin Pietersen. So, when you look at all of those things, we have got a tough job ahead of us tomorrow; but this is why you play the game of cricket. It is exciting to go out there and test your skills against the best players in the world. DD have won one out of one; they have got a boot on them, if they win tomorrow and they have a foot in the door for the semis. It is going to be a great game of cricket. The Kiwis will fight pretty hard. We know Delhi [Daredevils] will as well.
How do you plan to counter Ross Taylor?
Ross on his day is a world-class player. We have seen him take apart all kinds of attacks. He has played against a lot of us his whole career. But we have bowled to Ross Taylor our whole career so we know his strengths and weaknesses. When you do come up against occasions like this, when you play against your countryman, which happens in the IPL all the time, it is always a great challenge and both Ross and the guys from this side will be fighting hard, all in the spirit of the game and it will be a good spectacle.
So does playing in the IPL before help?
I was involved in the IPL for the first couple of years with the Kings XI Punjab and Mumbai Indians and I will really like to be involved again, because its feels like I am bowling well and can deal with the responsibility to bowl in the IPL. I would love to just bowl well in this tournament and get into form again and maybe an IPL team will be interested in my services.
For the Auckland guys who haven’t played in the IPL it’s a great experience for them. Delhi [Daredevils] who have been in the IPL since day one have got five years of playing T20 cricket and it is really a tough environment. This is all new to the Auckland Aces and part of that is really exciting for the guys.
How have you stayed motivated while dealing with injures and ups and downs through the years?
As you get older you get a little bit accustomed and a little bit wiser about dealing with the rehabilitation programmes. When you come back to playing cricket and when you have been out for a while, you call on that previous experience of having played international cricket to get you through what is in front of you. I have had a fair share of injuries, but am feeling good at the moment. I have been injury-free and since mid-June since we have been playing cricket. I am loving playing cricket at the moment. I am loving being involved with Auckland and playing cricket. It was a bit disappointing the loss against the Titans yesterday, but we will put that behind us. I am loving the experience of leading this Auckland attack.
What is your advice to young pacers who might be going through similar phases?
It is really important to listen to the professionals, the surgeons and the doctors and physiotherapists. Sometimes as a young player you are excited and you just want get into the mix of training and playing cricket. Your youthfulness can sometimes get better of what is actually required. The professionals, the surgeons, fitness trainers, etc know that. I have seen many times with other players and myself that we are so keen to get back on the field but our bodies are not quite right and by doing something you put your rehab back by three-four weeks. So, it is better to listen to the professionals and stick to the discipline of trying to get back on the park. At the end of the day have faith that you have been here before and you can definitely get back there again.