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Willey sets sights on Championship in 2018

— 9 November 2017

An exciting winter awaits David Willey, but the dynamic all-rounder is already looking forward to next season with Yorkshire.

Willey is jetting off to Australia next month to play his third season of Big Bash cricket with Perth Scorchers. From there, he will hopefully link up with England’s limited overs squad for their series in Oz in January and early February before they travel to New Zealand for similar commitments.

Then, before we know it, it will be April and the start of the county season when the talk will be of Yorkshire’s bid for Specsavers County Championship glory for the third time in five years.

And the Northampton-born star has his sights set on being in that first team selected by coach Andrew Gale.

  • “A big reason for me coming to Yorkshire was to play Division One cricket and develop my four-day cricket,” said the 27-year-old.

    “Unfortunately the nature of playing limited overs cricket for England means you’re not around for large chunks of time.

    “I think I’ve only played five or six four-day games in total for Yorkshire.

    “But, if you look at when the ODIs start next summer, I think there’s five or six games that I’m likely to be available for. All being well, I’ll be in that first eleven on the back of a good winter of cricket and training.

    “I am a bowler who needs to bowl regularly to find my straps. Being in and out of one-day cricket and unavailable for four-day games, it can be difficult for me to find a bit of rhythm and form. That’s not me making an excuse, I need to find a way of overcoming that. That’s the harsh reality of where my career’s at with being in and out of teams and things.”

    Willey went on: “From me being a youngster, I’ve wanted to win. For me, it’s about winning trophies. That will never change. And I think Yorkshire can win all three next summer.

    “It’s going to be difficult with England players coming in and out, but there’s a great crop of youngsters coming through.

    “I think everyone would say at Yorkshire that if there’s not been a trophy claimed over the summer, it’s a disappointment, which is where we were over the summer just gone.”

  • New father Willey was an ever-present in the Vikings NatWest T20 Blast campaign in 2017 and was exceptional, especially with the bat from number three in the order. He scored 446 runs with one hundred and a fifty and took eleven wickets from his 12 appearances.

    Unfortunately, his runs and wickets could not help Yorkshire qualify out of the North group, despite posting 200 plus scores on four occasions.

    He said: “If you look at the team we had and the way we played in a lot of our games, that we didn’t make the quarter-finals and then Finals Day was unbelievable really. It was so disappointing.

    “The games we lost, we did so in the last over. Small margins. We could have easily won the group. But that’s cricket and the beauty of T20.

    “No doubt we’ll come back stronger and be determined to go all the way next year.

    “We were brilliant for a lot of the competition, but there were things here and there that went against us and things we got wrong, which cost us.

    “If you look at the track record of Yorkshire over the last couple of years, there has been a definite improvement, which was one of my aims when I came up here. There are positives, but ultimately we should have been at Finals Day.”

    Willey has been working hard in the gym ahead of Yorkshire’s return to pre-season training at Emerald Headingley on Monday.

    Then, his attentions will quickly switch to the sunnier climes of Perth and a Big Bash title defence, or at least getting the Scorchers off to a flying start before a likely England call.

    He believes Perth, three-time champions in six years of the competition, are currently the best domestic T20 side in the world.

    “The competition out there is brilliant,” he continued.

    “To go over to Australia at that time of year, particularly with the Ashes on, means it’s going to be an exciting month or two for myself and my family.

    “I’ve not experienced the IPL, but in terms of the way the Australians run their competition, the following it has, how they broadcast it, it’s brilliant for cricket and the game’s future.

    “It was disappointing not to be there at the latter stages of the competition last year, and it looks like it will be the same again this time around. But you can’t sulk too much when you’re going to represent your country.

    “If you look at the squad Justin Langer has put together, it’s a phenomenal group of players. I don’t know how he’s going to pick an eleven!

    “I think they are the best around at the moment. You’ve almost got a squad of internationals, and other teams don’t have that.

    “That’s a credit to Justin for the way he assembles and runs the squad. Everybody wants to play for him.

    “I’ve no doubt that if guys wanted to go off and chase cash at a different team over there, they’d get more. But, ultimately, people want to be playing to win trophies. That’s obviously what’s happening with the Scorchers.

    “You’re always the team to beat, and it can be a bit tougher when you’re expected to win all the time and some teams can almost come out with nothing to lose when they play you.

    “But we’ve got plenty of options in the squad to suit different conditions and different opposition. That’s a luxury.”

    Willey has signed a new two-year deal with the Scorchers.

    He added: “It’s exciting for me to make Perth a bit more of a permanent fixture in my diary. I love going there, so it’s ideal.

    “It’s going to be incredible when the new stadium is up and running (next year for the Scorchers). It’s been delayed a bit – they were hoping to be in it this year.

    “It’s lovely playing at the WACA with the history, the pitch and things like that. It is a real home advantage with the pace and bounce, and teams do struggle to beat us there.

    “That’s going to be a challenge for us, although I know they are trying to replicate the pitches there as best they can with a drop in.”