David Willey is confident he is leaving Yorkshire’s Vitality Blast team in rude health as the captain departs for England international duty.
Willey, who now faces Sri Lanka in a T20 series from next Wednesday, will hand over the leadership duties to a yet to be confirmed team-mate for Sunday’s clash with Derbyshire at Emerald Headingley.
The Vikings have won three of their opening five North Group games, added to tonight’s abandonment against Durham at Headingley.
At the time of abandonment at 8pm, they sat second in the group with seven points from five games, two points adrift of leaders Birmingham Bears, who have won four of six games.
A Nottinghamshire win at home to Derbyshire could bring about change later. But, whatever the result of that match, Yorkshire are still very well placed.
Willey has overseen victories over Birmingham, Leicestershire and Worcestershire, the latter two games which saw them post north of 200 with the bat earlier this week.
The all-rounder has not hidden his desire to foster an exciting brand of cricket.
After all, he helped to design the Vikings’ new bright Nike blue shirt earlier this year and wanted it mirror their exuberant style of play!
“It’s been a good start to the competition for us,” he said. “Different people have stood up and performed, which is what good sides do.
“The England lads have helped us get off to a good start. We’ll lose a few now, including myself. But hopefully we can maintain the momentum.
“We’ve had a set game plan as to how we want to play, and we started work on it over 12 months ago. Last year was a bit disjointed, but it’s going well now.
“We’ve had some games where teams have come at us pretty hard, but we’ve been clear on what we’re trying to do with the ball.
“That’s a big contrast to where we were a couple of years ago when it could get quite frantic and no one was quite sure what they were trying to do.
“We’ve seen some great improvements, but my message to the lads is keeping learning from the good performances as well as the bad ones.
“The personnel we’ve got here, lads have been here for a period of time now.
“One thing we haven’t had in the past is a consistent method and picking lads to play to that method.
“Look at some of the guys who’ve missed out so far – Gary Ballance and Duanne Olivier have both played international cricket.
“The change in personnel over the weekend is going to create opportunities for others. But we’ll pick people to play certain roles without completely changing the dynamics of the team.”
Asked about differences this year to previous disappointing campaigns, Willey said: “The big thing I’ve noticed in the last 12 months is how open lads are to talking about the white ball game.
“In the past, with chopping and changing after bad results, we’ve sometimes looked for a magic answer if you will. And that has meant lads have got a bit defensive over their own games.
“But, with backing and trust in guys over a long period, they are now stepping up.
“And when things don’t go quite right, they are happy to talk openly about those performances.
“Ultimately, that’s how we will continue to learn and make strides forward.”