By Graham Hardcastle

David Willey hopes a quieter winter than usual can help him return to Yorkshire colours next season “a better cricketer than I’ve ever been”.

The dynamic all-rounder does not hide away from the fact it has been a challenging summer, both on and off the field.

It started with him being left out of England’s one-day World Cup squad as the selectors favoured Jofra Archer.

Then, some off-field family issues disrupted his appearances for Yorkshire – he missed the long Specsavers County Championship trip to Guildford, for example, in June.

On the field, he says his form has not been up to scratch even though last week he claimed four for 18 in a Vitality Blast win over former county Northamptonshire at Emerald Headingley – his best figures of the summer in any format.

Willey, 29, is desperate to regain his place in England’s white-ball set-up.

He may have missed the World Cup, but he played in the summer’s only T20 international against Pakistan in Cardiff in early May and enjoyed an excellent three-match series against West Indies in the Caribbean in March, taking six wickets, including four for seven in one game.

England have a five-match T20 series in New Zealand in early November.

But, other than international commitments, he is planning for a winter spent mainly at home with his wife Carolynne and their two young children.

“I was due to go to South Africa and the Big Bash again, but I’ve decided it would be better to stay at home,” he said.

“There are a couple of things I might do which will be quite short, and I’d love to be picked for the five T20 internationals in New Zealand. But South Africa and the Big Bash are quite long competitions.

“I will try and come back next year a better cricketer than I’ve ever been. It’s made me realise if I want to play for England again, I’ve got to come back better and stronger.

“For me, at the moment, playing 12 months of the year isn’t going to allow me to do that. A little period where I can work on my game will be a big benefit.”

He went on: “I’m not making excuses for some of my performances, but all round it’s been a tough summer.

“I’m looking forward to the end of the season, which probably suggests that it’s been challenging.

“I got left out of the World Cup and they went and won it, which is great for England. The Ashes here as well. It’s great for the future of our game.

“But, on a personal level, I’ve missed out and not played as well as I’d like.

“I will have a little bit of a break at the end of the summer, take stock and come back better next year.”

Yorkshire finished fifth in the Blast North Group with four wins.
They jumped from bottom of the table to one place outside the quarter-final finishers with back-to-back wins against Northants and Birmingham on Thursday and Friday.

They beat Northants by 80 runs and Birmingham by 19 runs defending a target of 201.

“That’s been very typical of the way we’ve played in the last few years. We either blow teams out of the water or lose,” he added.

“There’s no getting across the line in tight games. That’s where we’ve got to be better. If we get across the line in tight ones, we might have qualified.”

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