Yorkshire proving a magnet for best players

Kane Williamson
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MARTYN MOXON said the world’s top players increasingly want to play for Yorkshire after the club secured overseas coverage for the entire season by 
re-signing the New Zealand batsman Kane Williamson.

Yorkshire’s hopes of competing on all fronts next summer have been boosted after Williamson joined Australia batsman Aaron Finch and Australia all-rounder Glenn Maxwell, plus Pakistan batsman Younus Khan, on the Headingley payroll for 2015.

Williamson will play the final month of the campaign when Finch and Maxwell join Australia’s limited-overs squads for matches against England in late August/September, with the Australian duo taking over from early-season recruit Younus following the climax to the Indian Premier League in May.

It means Yorkshire will have the strongest overseas collective in county cricket as they seek to defend their County Championship title and to make headway in the NatWest T20 Blast and Royal London One-Day Cup.

Moxon, who has helped perform a major coup by sealing blanket overseas representation despite a saturated international schedule, said Yorkshire’s quartet of overseas signings proves that the world’s best players are more and more keen to wear the White Rose.

“At the moment, I think people are wanting to play for Yorkshire, which is a hugely nice position to be in,” he said.

“With the success that we’ve had recently, and with the environment that we have at the club, I think it’s making it very attractive for players – particularly from overseas – to come and play for us.

“Obviously, it’s great for us that the best players want to come here, and long may it continue.

“I’m really pleased to have got the four overseas lads we’ve got – particularly given the amount of international cricket that will be played this summer – and although we obviously want our existing players to play their part, the overseas lads will help us a lot.”

Perhaps as striking as the quality of Yorkshire’s overseas recruits is the fact that three of them – Williamson, Finch and Younus – have previously represented the club.

Yorkshire are keen to build lasting relationships with their foreign imports who, it would appear, are keen to reciprocate.

Williamson – who will join Yorkshire after New Zealand’s tour of South Africa ends around late August and be available for the final three Championship games – is returning for a third spell after a six-week stint in 2013 and a lengthy stay last summer.

Finch also played for the club last season, while Younus represented the county in 2007 during Moxon’s first season back at the helm.

“We very much want to create lasting relationships with our overseas players,” said Moxon.

“It can be difficult for players, and also for staff, if you’ve got a different overseas player every year for a short period of time, and chopping and changing all the time isn’t easy for anybody.

“In recent times, we’ve built up really strong relationships with Kane and Aaron, who are keen to play as much as they can for Yorkshire going forward, while Younus made a really good impression when he played for us in 2007, remembered how much he enjoyed it and didn’t need any persuading to come back.

“Now Glenn Maxwell is really looking forward to joining us for the first time and hopefully we can develop a great relationship with him as well.”

Yorkshire’s overseas signings highlight not only the club’s appeal to the world’s best cricketers but also the club’s ambition.

Any thoughts of resting on laurels after last year’s Championship title have clearly not permeated the thinking and illustrate a strong financial commitment.

“The bottom line is that we have an expensive squad all round,” said Moxon.

“With our own players and the overseas, it isn’t cheap, so the club have invested a lot into the squad to try to sustain success on all fronts.

“We’re very keen this year to do well not only in the Championship but also in the T20, and we want to try to get to a Lord’s final too.

“We should be able to compete on all fronts when you look at the squad, and we’ve also got some young players in the background that we wouldn’t be afraid to use if they’re playing well enough.”

Williamson, who said he was “delighted” to be returning to Yorkshire and who cited the “brilliant culture” that is “a real privilege to be part of”, top-scored with 38 yesterday as New Zealand beat Scotland by three wickets in their World Cup match in Dunedin.

The Kiwis, who face England in Wellington on Friday, lost regular wickets in chasing 143 in an effort to boost their net run-rate.

Scotland’s haggis was effectively cooked when they slipped to 12-4 after being put into bat before half-centuries from Matt Machan and Richie Berrington threatened respectability.

Forrmer Yorkshire pace bowler Iain Wardlaw took 3-57 in the Kiwis’ reply, including the wickets of openers Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum, plus that of Grant Elliott.