YORKSHIRE have moved to address a long-standing lack of success in white-ball cricket by appointing David Willey as T20 captain.
The England all-rounder has been given the job after club captain Steve Patterson decided to step away from T20 cricket.
Obviously, Yorkshire have got a phenomenal record in the red-ball game, but for a club of such size and players over the years to have not put some silverware in the white-ball cabinet for some time now is probably very disappointing.David Willey
Patterson, 36, believes that T20 is increasingly a young man’s game but will continue to lead in the County Championship and in 50-over cricket.
Willey could not have been white-ball captain full stop as the 50-over clashes with The Hundred tournament and he is part of the Headingley-based franchise Northern Superchargers.
Yorkshire have only twice reached T20 Finals Day since that competition started in 2003 and they have not won a one-day trophy of any sort since the previous year.
It is a situation which Willey is keen to change.
“Part of the reason I came in four or five years ago now was to try and improve that area at Yorkshire,” said Willey, who previously represented his home county Northants.
“Obviously, Yorkshire have got a phenomenal record in the red-ball game, but for a club of such size and players over the years to have not put some silverware in the white-ball cabinet for some time now is probably very disappointing.
“For my part, I’ve played T20 cricket all around the world – I’ve played in the World Cup, IPL, Big Bash and been at Finals Day four times, so, hopefully, I can draw on all that experience, bring it to the table and, hopefully, we’ll be very successful.
“I think we’ve got a brilliant group of players, and to be captain of Yorkshire in any format is a great honour and something I’m really looking forward to.”
Willey, who turns 30 this month, pipped batsman Tom Kohler-Cadmore to the post after an interview process led by Yorkshire first-team coach Andrew Gale.
Kohler-Cadmore, 25, captained Yorkshire in nine T20 games last year and did a good job to complement a fine season with the bat, and he is highly regarded by the Yorkshire hierarchy.
“We both interviewed, so someone was going to be left disappointed,” said Willey.
“I’ve spoken to Tom, and we both said before the interviews that either way there’d be no hard feelings.
“He did really well last year; we just missed out on the quarter-finals and he had an exceptional season with the bat. I’m certainly not going to be someone who stands there and it’s all about me; I want to learn as much as I can from all of the lads, and for us all to be selfless on-and-off the field and playing for each other.”
Willey’s availability going forward was a key factor in Yorkshire’s decision to appoint him.
He has been in-and-out of the Yorkshire and England sides in recent times but looks refreshed and raring to go after a rare winter at the club and also at home with his young family.
“I think over the past four years I’ve been in-and-out with Yorkshire, with England and stuff, but having been left out of the World Cup last year my pathway this summer is very clear, which is really exciting for me,” he said.
“I can get my teeth back into county cricket, both white-ball and red-ball, and I’m really looking forward to focusing on that.
“In T20, I just want to lead the team and do the best I can.
“To be honest, at my appraisal last year, I actually put my name forward (as a possible T20 captain), and I’m very grateful to have been given the chance.”
Gale, who described Willey as “the right man”, believes that the best is yet to come from a player he says will benefit from regular cricket at Yorkshire.
“Dave feels now that he’s here for the long haul,” said Gale.
“He’s dipped his toe in the water at times and we haven’t seen the best of him yet across all three formats, but I’m sure we will now.
“Last summer was a tough summer for him; he thought he was going to be playing in a World Cup but then to not be a part of that… I’m sure that would have been a hard pill to swallow.
“He now feels part of something (at Yorkshire), and I think for a period of time he’s not felt part of anything, having been here, there and everywhere.
“He probably feels like a proper Yorkshire player having had a full winter, and he’s able to be more vocal around the lads because he’s here for the long haul.”