The Hobart Hurricanes are anxiously waiting for fast bowler Tymal Mills to prove his fitness, with the organisation "concerned" about his ability to take up the second year of his contract.
Mills signed a two-year deal last summer but was well below expectations in BBL|07, and was dropped for the semi-final and final as he leaked nearly 10 runs an over. The final straw came as he leaked 56 runs from his four overs against last-placed Melbourne Stars in the 'Canes final game of the regular season, a deafeat nearly costing them a spot in the semi-finals.
A Hurricanes academy team will compete in a six-team T20 tournament in Abu Dhabi in October, and the club want Mills to prove his fitness there ahead of the first full home-and-away season of the BBL that starts in December.
A quadricep strain has kept Mills sidelined for the entirety of England's domestic T20 competition so far, and he hasn't played since taking 1-34 in a second XI T20 match a month ago.
Cricket Tasmania chief executive Nick Cummins said the club was weighing up options to get Mills up to speed, figuratively and literally.
"We are slightly concerned and it certainly puts a lot of onus on him in what he needs to do in his preparation," Cummins told News Corp.
"He is going to be coming with us to the UAE. But he needs to get the miles in his legs, he will need to do that.
"It might involve him coming to Australia earlier, I'm not quite sure just yet."
Fellow speedster Mitchell Johnson today confirmed he was not renewing his contract with the Perth Scorchers, citing the rigours of a full 14-game home-and-away season for fast bowlers as his primary concern.
Mills, who turns 26 next month, is 11 years younger than Johnson but has a long history of injuries and Hobart are keen to avoid a repeat of last summer when injury curtailed his preparations.
"The reason why he struggled while he was here was he didn't have enough cricket behind him," said Cummins.
"I think we can predict the outcome if he arrives in a similar situation.
"The fact he hasn't played is a concern."
Mills had an eventful two-game stint with the Brisbane Heat in BBL|06 before recruited by the Hurricanes on a two-year deal.
He was bought for A$2.3 million by Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 2017 IPL auction, but went unsold for this year's tournament after his disappointing first season for the Hurricanes.
Capable of hitting speeds of up to 150 kph, his back-of-the-hand slower ball has been regarded as one of the best in the world. It was a delivery he developed after being forced to give up first-class cricket aged just 22 and become a T20 specialist after being diagnosed with a chronic back condition.
While Mills was out of sorts for the Hurricanes last summer, he was much more impressive for the Karachi Kings in this year's Pakistan Super League, with nine wickets in eight games, an economy rate of 8.4 and average of 23.
He played 10 matches for Hobart in BBL|07, taking eight wickets at an average of 48.60 and economy of 9.73.
Mills's BBL|07 was in stark contrast to fellow import Jofra Archer, who quickly became a cult hero among Hobart fans thanks to his ice-cool on-field persona, brilliant fielding skills and pre-match antics.
Archer took 17 wickets at an average of 21.90, conceded 7.88 an over and has signed on with Hobart until the end of BBL|09.
His season with Hobart helped him earn a A$1.4m contract with the Rajasthan Royals in this year's IPL, and this week returned figures of 4-15 and 4-31 for Sussex in a first-class fixture against Glamorgan.