Tymal Mills says initiatives to make cricket more inclusive are more important than taking a knee

“Taking a knee is a powerful, symbolic gesture but I think in reality what came to light last year is a lot more important, what organisations, what schemes came about,” says fast bowler Mills, who is also eager to add to his four England T20 international caps

Last Updated: 11/05/21 1:25pm


Tymal Mills says initiatives to make cricket more inclusive will create greater change than gestures such as taking the knee

Sussex seamer Tymal Mills believes initiatives to make cricket more inclusive will create greater change than gestures such as taking a knee.

Mills, 28, is an ambassador for Chance to Shine, a charity that aims to give children and young people in state schools and disadvantaged communities the opportunity to play cricket.

Sky Sports’ Ebony Rainford-Brent also pioneered the Afro-Caribbean Engagement Programme (ACE), which became an independent charity in 2020 after receiving significant funding from Sport England.

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Ebony Rainford-Brent talks to Sky Sports News about the ACE programme, which she helped establish after growing impatient waiting for authorities to instigate changes to improve diversity in English cricket

Ebony Rainford-Brent talks to Sky Sports News about the ACE programme, which she helped establish after growing impatient waiting for authorities to instigate changes to improve diversity in English cricket

England players and staff took a knee at the start of last summer as part of the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of George Floyd but later stopped the practice, much to the frustration of Michael Holding.

Mills, who was born in Yorkshire with Afro-Caribbean heritage, told the Press Association: “Taking a knee is a powerful, symbolic gesture but I think in reality what came to light last year is a lot more important, what organisations, what schemes came about.

“I feel that especially being a mixed-race guy who went to state school, I wasn’t privately educated, there aren’t a lot of people from that same demographic that end up playing cricket.

“So anything that I can do with Chance to Shine, I know Ebony Rainford-Brent has taken her work with the ACE programme to the next level, those are the things that are actually tangible and that make the difference.

Impatient Rainford-Brent wants quick ACE progress

With the ACE Programme to become a charity, Ebony Rainford-Brent wants to accelerate change having grown impatient waiting for English cricket to improve its diversity

“What’s happened in the last 12 months or so, these organisations, these schemes are becoming a lot more visible and ultimately those are the things that actually make a difference down the line.

“We won’t see a huge amount of change in the next couple of years but hopefully in the next five, 10, 15 and 20 years, that’s where you’ll see real change and it may come from what unfortunately happened last summer.”

Mills will play for Sussex in the Vitality Blast and Southern Brave in the inaugural edition of The Hundred this summer and still hopes to add to his four England T20 international caps – the last of which came in India in 2017 – with this year’s T20 World Cup a target for the left-arm paceman.

Mills played one T20 for England against Sri Lanka in 2016 and three more against India in 2017

Mills played one T20 for England against Sri Lanka in 2016 and three more against India in 2017

Mills, whose career has been affected by injuries, added: “I feel if I’m at my best, I’d like to think I’d be in that conversation.

“I’m not somebody that likes to stay in a comfortable scenario and just tick along, I want to try and be the best that I can.

“I have goals and ambitions to play for England but ultimately it starts with my body and ends with my body. That’s all I’m focusing on. If I stay fit, then hopefully those things will come and if not, so be it.

“I’m still confident that when I’m fit and firing, I perform to a high level. The body’s feeling good and last summer I think I was still hitting 93mph pretty regularly.

“I know it’s still my trump card, my X-factor as such. I definitely don’t want to be losing that. I’m not holding back at all to preserve anything else. I know I still need to be bowling quickly if I’m going to be successful.”



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