Nine days on from his horrific collision with Brendon McCullum at Chennai, Kyle Mills' melon is the least of his worries.
It's the disappearance of his voice and the soreness in his left hip that are really bothering the Black Caps' fast bowler.
Mills still isn't 100 per cent right but he'll be close enough to full fitness to be able to spearhead New Zealand's attack when they meet Bangladesh in tomorrow's Twenty20 World Cup Group D opener at the Pallekele Cricket Stadium.
Mills managed four overs in the Black Caps training session at the ground yesterday and they were enough to convince him he'll be able to do that for real come 10pm (NZ time) tomorrow.
There were fears Mills had suffered concussion, and even a fractured cheekbone, after he and McCullum collided while both trying to catch Indian batsman Yuvraj Singh. But they've been the least of his problems.
"I've had laryngitis for the last week and I've been on antibiotics for six days now," Mills croaked from his team's viewing area at Pallekele.
Not to mention insult to injury. Still, at least he's in one piece.
"Everyone keeps asking about my head and my eye but that's completely fine. It's more my hip and ankle because Baz's [McCullum's] knee went into my hip and my ankle got caught in the ground, so I rolled my ankle as well. But my hip's the main thing that's giving me a bit of grief."
Now that's he's almost come right, Mills is relishing the thought of creating a real fortress at Pallekele. After Bangladesh, New Zealand meet Pakistan back here on Sunday and then, assuming they make the subsequent Super 8s, they'll play those three games at Pallekele as well.
"Of all wickets on the Subcontinent, this one here is the most like New Zealand conditions in the sense that's there's usually a bit of bounce in the wicket and a bit of sideways movement," he said.
That's more under lights, which will be an interesting feature of pool play. New Zealand's games start at 3.30pm local time, meaning one half of the match will be played in sunshine and the other in darkness given the lack of twilight here. The outcome of the toss, in that case, will be keenly awaited by the Black Caps who believe seam bowling is probably their strength.
Meanwhile, Nicol and Tim Southee are back with the team after battling illness. Both were at training yesterday but their participation was limited to walking around the boundary rope.
McCullum batted fluently, despite the heavy strapping on his right elbow which is the legacy of his clash with Mills. Daniel Vettori, who missed the last warmup match against South Africa because of stomach trouble, also took a full part in proceedings.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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