David Willey wanted to “turn heads” when he was helping to design Yorkshire’s new Nike shirt for this summer’s Vitality Blast campaign. After all, that’s how he wants the Vikings to play their cricket.
The county have today unveiled an exciting new four-year partnership with the world’s leading sports and leisurewear brand, with new kits produced for all three county competitions.
Willey, as T20 captain, helped to design the Blast number, admitting: “When I was in conversations about what I wanted for the shirt, ultimately I wanted something that was a bit out there and would leave an impression and turn heads.
“The club are a very strong on the traditional colours of the club, and Nike were also very keen on the distorted rose, which also goes through into the 50-over kit as well. I think they look great.
“What I want for us as a team is to leave an impression on people. So I wanted the kit to reflect that.”
The dynamic all-rounder found enjoyment in contributing to the kit design, but laughs when asked if any more fashion designing deals have been secured: “Not yet, they must have an old number or something!”
Enjoyment is a key word for Willey at present. That disappeared after a horrible 2019, highlighted by his last-minute omission from England’s World Cup squad.
He rediscovered that sparkle at the start of last summer, but we all know what happened after that.
A return to England one-day colours, and player-of-the-series displays against Ireland, put a smile on his face before further frustration came in omissions from an ODI series against Australia.
He refused the selectors’ offer of a place as a reserve for that series in order to get on the field for Yorkshire. But he played two Blast games and then contracted Coronavirus and missed the final fortnight of the season. He was also nursing a stress fracture of his back at the same time.
But, now, less than a fortnight away from the start of the 2021 summer, he certainly has that enjoyment and love for the game again.
“If I play for England again, great. But that’s not my sole focus now,” he said.
“When you’re in an out and on the sidelines, you’re always waiting for that phone call, ‘Am I in the squad, am I not?’
“There’s still so much cricket to be played for me in England and around the world. And I’m really excited as to what the development of Yorkshire’s T20 side will look like over the coming years.
“We’ve had some lads who have gained experience last year and also through the winter.
“When four of us were unavailable at the end of the summer (due to Coronavirus), that gave chances for young lads, who said they learnt more in those four games than in 12 months of practice.
“And the way the lads have gone about their white ball practice this winter has been exceptional.
“They have all bought into the way we want to play, which is exciting.
“But you don’t become an experienced T20 cricketer overnight, and we have to remember that coming into the competition. We’re going to make mistakes.
“The important thing is how we start. We want to play the brand of cricket we’ve talked about over the past 12 months. Whatever happens in those first few games, we want to continue doing that.
“If we get to the back end of the competition and it hasn’t worked out, I’d rather us go down trying to play our way. That way, it falls on my shoulders – and I’m alright with that.”