Hong Kong T20 Blitz 2017

Tymal Mills’ IPL price tag of HK$13.5 million raises profile of Hong Kong T20 Blitz

The Kowloon Cantons player is signed up by Bangalore for India’s world-leading Twenty20 franchise-based tournament

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 February, 2017, 6:22pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 March, 2017, 2:28pm

The Hong Kong T20 Blitz will boast one of the world’s most expensive cricketers after England fast bowler Tymal Mills was snapped up by an Indian Premier League franchise for HK$13.5 million (£1.4 million).

Mills, 24, entered his name into the IPL auction this week half-hoping to be picked up at the base price of £60,000. He ended up being the second-most expensive player to be picked, by Bangalore, after England vice captain Ben Stokes was signed by Rising Pune Supergiants for £1.7m.

“I can’t believe it. I can’t put into words what happened. I did not see this coming and it took a while for it to sink in,” Mills was quoted as saying. “It has been a crazy day. I was up at 8.30am this morning and put the auction on TV. When my turn came I was pretty nervous. I just wanted to get picked up. I was the lowest of the base prices because I just wanted to get picked up by a team.

“When my name came up I was nervous, giddy and jumpy. I was on facetime with my best mate and he just kept shouting. The bidding was quite slow but once it hit [£1.2 million] I knew it was big money, but it kept going. When it finished I did not know how much it was worth. When I worked it out I could not believe it, it did not seem real. It’s an amount of money that can change your life. It will for me.”

Mills can send the ball down at 150km/h, making him one of the fastest bowlers in the world but a degenerative back problem means he has had to give up his test and 50-over careers and focus solely on Twenty20 cricket.

He is playing for the Quetta Gladiators in the Pakistan Super League in Dubai and will take part in the Hong Kong Blitz from March 8-12 at Tin Kwong Road before joining up with Bangalore teammates, who include Indian captain Virat Kohli, West Indian star Chris Gayle and South Africa’s AB de Villiers.

The IPL, the world’s most-watch cricket league, runs from April 5 to May 21.

In Hong Kong, Mills will play alongside Pakistani great Shahid Afridi, who recently announced his retirement from international cricket.

The Hong Kong event features a number of big-name players. Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq will play for Hong Kong Island United while the tournament also features Sri Lankans Kumar Sangakkara (Galaxy Gladiators Lantau), Tilakaratne Dilshan (City Kaitak) and West Indies’ Darren Sammy (Hung Hom JD Jaguars).

The tournament also boasts top New Zealand players James Franklin (Jaguars) and Jesse Ryder (Lantau).

The fact that the Blitz is able to attract a host of high-profile cricketers in only its second edition is testament to the popularity of the T20 game and Cricket Hong Kong’s efforts to bring world-class events to the city.

Last year, former Australia captain Michael Clarke signed for the Cantons, although he was afforded only a cameo appearance as rain wiped out all but one day’s play.