Yorkshire v Northants: Willey admits Yorkshire are on a one-day learning curve
DAVID WILLEY makes his first appearance against his former club Northants today as Yorkshire go in search of their first limited-overs win of the season at the seventh attempt.
The England star, who moved from Wantage Road during the winter, lines up against his former team-mates in a Royal London Cup game at Scarborough (11am start).
Yorkshire are keen to get some limited-overs victories on the board after three defeats and an abandonment in the NatWest T20 Blast, plus one defeat and a no-result in the Royal London Cup.
Willey said they are working hard to find the right method and believes they are heading in the right direction.
“It’s going to be a big game for us after recent results and the weather, and we need to get some wins under our belt,” he said.
“It’s been talked about a lot - both within the squad and among the supporters - that our one-day cricket has probably not quite been where we want it to be, but it’s difficult with guys coming in and out of the side through international duty and one thing and another.
“But we’re trying to change things, trying to change the way that we play one-day cricket, and these things don’t just happen overnight.
“It takes time, but I believe that we’re heading in the right direction.”
Yorkshire have cracked the four-day game in recent times, with the club having won back-to-back County Championships.
They have been less successful in the one-day arena, although they did reach the semi-finals of the Royal London Cup last summer under Alex Lees, whose appointment as one-day captain was made permanent during the close season.
Yorkshire are a work in progress under Lees, whose side is on a steep learning curve.
“We need to learn how to play one-day games - how to construct innings, the style of cricket - and I think we’re still fishing around a little bit as to how we’re going to do that,” said Willey.
“We need to find a method and a system for us to play our one-day cricket and to get a bit of consistency.
“But we’ve got a good bunch of lads and a very talented dressing room, and we just need to gel all that together on the pitch in the one-day stuff to get some wins on the board.
“Four-day cricket has more or less taken care of itself, but we need to improve our one-day form.”
Yorkshire signed Willey not least for his proven track record in limited-overs cricket, with the left-hander a dynamic force with bat and ball.
The 26-year-old helped England to the final of the World T20 earlier this year and was their leading wicket-taker in that competition with 10 at 15.9.
“Hopefully, I can bring some of that one-day approach and drip-feed that into the Yorkshire dressing room,” he added.
“When it comes to doing well in the one-day stuff, I really think a lot of it is down to momentum, and if you can get off to a winning start, that can set the tone.
“Also, sometimes you have to take a risk, even if it costs you your wicket, and put in for the team in that way.
“Back end of my time with Northants, the sole focus there was on doing well in the one-day stuff, so hopefully I can bring my own experience to bear.”
It will be an odd experience for Willey to play against his former club at North Marine Road.
He had six years with Northants, whom he left in an effort to further his career.
“It will be strange to be playing against former team-mates, but it’s part of sport and you just crack on,” he said.
“Weather permitting, I’m really looking forward to it.
“I’ve played at Scarborough once before, quite a long time ago.
“I think it was the coldest day I’ve ever played cricket, and hopefully the weather this time is set fair.”
Willey has had a fractured start to his Yorkshire career.
He had some time off after the World T20 and then picked up an abdominal injury when bowling in the Championship win against Surrey at Headingley.
“I had a bit of time off at the start of the season, came back and played one Champo game (against Notts) and then picked up a bit of a niggle (against Surrey), so I’ve missed a few more weeks as well,” he said.
“It’s been a frustrating period, but I’m back on the park now and I’ve played the last few games, so hopefully I can start putting in some decent performances.
“I’m really enjoying my time at Yorkshire, and I want to play my part for the team.
“Hopefully, we can get a good win at Scarborough and kick on from there.”
Yorkshire (from): Ballance, Bresnan, Carver, Coad, Hodd, Leaning, Lees (captain), Lyth, Patterson, Plunkett, Rashid, Rhodes, Willey, Williamson.