David Willey should have been striding out at Emerald Headingley proud as punch this evening – his first outing as Yorkshire’s permanent Vitality Blast captain. The Vikings were due to host Durham in their North Division opener.
Instead, the star all-rounder has been sat at home chatting about his plans to take the county forwards in that format rather than implementing them.
After Steve Patterson stepped down from leading the side in T20, Willey, the 30-year-old with 185 career 20-over appearances under his belt, was appointed his successor in February.
A winner of domestic titles in England, Australia and India, and having played in a World Cup final, he has pretty much been there, done it and bought the t-shirt in the all action format.
So what does he believe Yorkshire – a county who have only ever reached Finals Day twice since 2003 and are still awaiting their first title – have to do to turn themselves into serial challengers from constant underachievers?
“I don’t think we’ve had a formula in the past,” said the ex-Northamptonshire man.
“It’s not always your best players who make up your best T20 team. If you look around the counties who’ve won the T20 in the past, they probably haven’t got eleven of the best players on the circuit.
“It’s much more about how you come together to play a role in the side, and I don’t think we’ve done that consistently enough in the past. That’s something I want to make sure we do.
“I’ve spoken to the management quite a lot about it, and I think we’re all on the same page with that.
“We’ve under-performed massively in T20, and I was looking forward to this year being different.
“I’ve pulled my hair out a lot over the last few years about it because I think we’ve got a group of players who should be challenging.”
Unfortunately, Yorkshire’s recent Blast history has regularly seen them take one step forwards and then two back.
Record scores and big wins have often been followed immediately by head scratching defeats.
“That epitomises what I’m saying about us playing roles for the team,” continued Willey.
“If you look at the games where you’ve gone, ‘Wow, this team’s incredible’, it’s probably been one or two players who have stood up and won the game.
“We’re fortunate enough that we’ve got players who can do that, but day in and day out over the course of a competition, you’ve got to chip in and play your little role.
“That could be a quick cameo or doing a boring job through the middle with the ball and not picking up wickets.
“Whatever it may be, we have to do that, and that’s what we’ve not done individually for the team over the past few years.
“And that’s why one game someone will get a big hundred and win it and the next we’ll go to Chesterfield where we have to scratch around and someone has to get an ugly run-a-ball 35 and we don’t do it.
“We’ve also been poor on the road.
“We know we’re going to get good pitches with a short side at Headingley, and we know how to play on them. We’re successful there.
“But when you go to different grounds with different dimensions and surfaces, you have to play to another game plan.
“That’s where we have to do things differently, and with how we were going about it in planning and preparation, I’m confident we’d have seen more consistency in playing those individual roles.
“I can’t remember where it was, but I’ve already said to the lads, ‘If we’re not making the knockout stages and getting very close to Finals Day, it would have been a failure in my regard’.”