Yorkshire all-rounder David Willey has today been confirmed as the Club’s T20 captain ahead of this summer’s Vitality Blast competition.
Willey was officially appointed at the end of last week following a formal close season process and his first game in charge is likely to be out in Mumbai with the Club set to embark on a fortnight long pre-season tour next month.
The Northampton-born 29-year-old made his debut for the White Rose against Nottinghamshire in May 2016. He signed a new three-year deal last summer and is expected to play a key role in the Club’s search for a first limited overs trophy since 2002.
Willey, capped 74 times by England in One-Day and T20 cricket, told Yorkshireccc.com: “It’s a great honour. To be a captain at any club, let alone the biggest in the country, is a great honour. Hopefully this is the first step and we can have a successful year in 2020.
“I put my name forward in my appraisal last year. Over the past four or five years I’ve been in and out with Yorkshire due to England commitments, but having been left out of the World Cup my pathway for this summer has become very clear, which is really exciting. I’m very much looking forward to getting my teeth back in to County Cricket and all formats. Part of that will be drawing on my experience in T20 cricket and wanting to lead the team as well as I possibly can.
“The reason I came in four or five years ago now was to try and improve that area at Yorkshire. We’ve got a phenomenal record in red-ball cricket, but for a club of this size, to not have silverware in white-ball cricket is very disappointing. I’ve played T20 cricket all around the world, a World Cup, IPL, Big Bash, I’ve been in Finals Day four times myself, so hopefully I can draw on all of that experience and bring that to the table. We’ve got a brilliant group of players and my job will be to sit in the background and let the lads go about their business and we hope to go a long way.”
Steven Patterson, who will remain as Club captain and will lead the side in Championship and 50-over cricket, will take a ‘step back’ from T20 cricket in order to allow somebody younger take the Vikings and their exciting crop of players forward in 2020.
“I’d like to wish Dave every success in the role,” said the 36-year-old seamer, who skippered the county in all formats in 2019. “He’s someone with a great deal of experience in the format, has a proven record of success and I’m sure he’ll do a fantastic job.”
First XI Coach Andrew Gale said: “Firstly, I just want to say that Tom (Kohler-Cadmore) did a good job last year and I think the time is right for Dave. England is currently out of the picture for him, he’s around a lot more, he’s got a vast amount of experience having played in a World Cup Final, played in the Big Bash, on the sub-continent, as well as a number of Finals Days. He’s learned a lot on his travels and we hope he can bring that experience to the group, even more so now as a leader.
“We went through a process this time, quite a formal process and Dave came out as the right man for the job. He’s excited for the job and we’re excited about the amount of time we’re going to have him available to us.
“Dave feels now that he’s here for the long haul. He’s dipped his toe in the water at times and we haven’t seen the best of him yet across all three formats, but I’m sure we will now.
“He now feels part of something! I think for a period of time he’s not felt part of anything, having been here, there and everywhere. He probably feels like a proper Yorkshire player having had a full winter. He’s able to be more vocal around the lads because he’s here for the long haul.”
Since joining Yorkshire, Willey has captained the county in both T20 and Championship cricket, leading the team five times in August 2018 following an injury to Patterson.
Fresh from a full winter of training with the playing group, Willey, the Club’s 181st capped player, is very much looking forward to reaping the benefits of that hard work and a settled period with the White Rose county.
“It’s been brilliant!” he added. “If you are going to lead a team you need to spend some time around the lads. This is the first opportunity I’ve had to do that, having spent a winter at home. I think I was burnt out of cricket and probably lacked some enjoyment at the back end of last year. It’s been a really good period for me, I feel refreshed and have had lots of time to work on my game. I’m looking forward to the start of the summer and being here at Yorkshire for the first time in five years.
“For me, it’s about growing throughout the competition. If we don’t get off to a great start it’s about ensuring it’s not panic stations. Ultimately, you don’t win anything in those first three, four or five games, it’s the back end when you start clicking and growing as a team, playing for each other. Ultimately, that’s what I want it to be about, selfless on and off the field; playing for each other. Through my experience in successful teams, when you are enjoying each other’s success then you can play selfless cricket.
“Naturally, I’ll try and lead by example on and off the field. I’m only recently appointed, so I’ll sit down with Galey (Andrew Gale) and go through what the schedule looks like and how we want to go about things. I might have a slightly different take on it than previous captains but that’s the beauty of it. From my experience around the world in successful T20 sides, hopefully I can bring some of that knowledge to the table and we can enjoy some success.”