Desert Vipers name Tymal Mills as Gus Atkinson replacement

England T20 World Cup winner Tymal Mills has been drafted into the Desert Vipers squad for season two of the ILT20, with the left-arm fast bowler named as the replacement for Gus Atkinson.

England T20 World Cup winner Tymal Mills has been drafted into the Desert Vipers squad for season two of the ILT20, with the left-arm fast bowler named as the replacement for Gus Atkinson.

With Gus off on England Test duty on the upcoming tour of India, there was a vacancy in the Vipers seam bowling ranks and Tymal, part of the squad in the first edition of the tournament before injury cut short his involvement, has returned to the playing group.

And for the player who has a winner’s medal from the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia in 2022 and who has also just finished a T20 International tour to the West Indies with England, that return gives him a chance to get a taste of what, to a large extent, he missed out on in January and February of this year during the Vipers’ run to the final.


“It is great to be back and yes (it is unfinished business),” Tymal told the Vipers Voices podcast. “Last year ended for me very prematurely when I had a recurrence of an injury to my (right) big toe which was incredibly frustrating.

“I loved my time with the Vipers and I stayed out for a bit longer after it was decided I would have to fly home, and me and my family are really excited to be getting back out there (to Dubai) and hopefully putting in a much longer and better shift at the second time of asking.”

Explaining what the injury issue was, Tymal said: “It was during the English summer of 2022 that I damaged my big toe on my landing foot. It ended up getting infected and I had two operations, and so obviously the skin was pretty damaged and there was a lot of scar tissue there.”

“I got back playing and everything was going well, and unfortunately, I got a bit complacent and I did not strap it as well as I needed to, I thought it was better and not really going to be an issue. I thought it was a bit further along its recovery than it was.

“So, in that first game of the tournament, I felt my toe start to hurt again during my third over, and when I went off and checked I found there was quite a lot of blood and it had reopened again. It was very frustrating.

“I did not need another operation, it did not get infected and I kept it clean and well dressed, and it did heal on its own. It took about two months.”

Tymal is well and truly recovered now, as he demonstrated during the UK summer with perhaps the best season of his career as he excelled first in the T20 Blast for Sussex Sharks and then in the Hundred for the Southern Brave and also played some shortform cricket in Zimbabwe.

He collected 22 wickets in the Blast, played six matches in the T10 tournament for the Bulawayo Braves and then, in The Hundred, was the tournament’s leading wicket-taker across all the teams with 16 wickets in nine matches with his side just failing to reach the final, losing out to Manchester Originals in the Eliminator ahead of the final.

“Personally (2023) was really good,” he said. “It would have been nice to get a trophy or a medal to go with it, but one thing I have not done over my career, historically, is stack up a lot of games over a period of time so, looking back, it was a really good summer for me in that regard, not only playing games but also training properly and not having to protect myself or hold back at all through fear of injury – that was really nice.

“The Blast is a very tough schedule. We have a lot of travelling and play on consecutive days a lot and we have 14 group games. I only sat out one or two and that was for rest and rotation.

“And having missed the whole of The Hundred the year before, I was really keen to get back into things there, and to play every game and to be the leading wicket-taker in the whole competition was a really proud moment for me.

“It was a shame to lose in the eliminator game and not make it to the final at Lord’s but I was still really happy with how my summer went back home, and then it was nice to get some time off afterwards and let the body recharge.”

The second edition of the ILT20 gets underway on January 19 and the Desert Vipers’ first match is against the Abu Dhabi Knight Riders at the Dubai International Stadium on January 21.