NAME: David Jonathan Willey DOB: February 28, 1990, Northampton ROLE: All-rounder (left-arm seamer, left-handed bat) NICKNAME: Wildman DID YOU KNOW?: David’s wife Carolynne is a country singer and was a two-time X Factor contestant.
All-rounder David Willey opted to join Yorkshire from home county Northamptonshire ahead of 2016. He has since signed two new contracts and will remain at Emerald Headingley until at least the end of 2022.
Willey will be an integral part of the county’s bid for silverware over the next few years, in particular their search for a first limited trophy since 2002.
Capped 74 times by England in one-day and T20 cricket, Willey will be 30 by the time the 2020 summer begins.
It was a hammer blow to him that he missed out on selection for the home one-day World Cup in 2019, despite starting the summer in the ODI squad. But he has far from given up hope of further international honours in the future.
If that does happen, it will have meant some special performances in White Rose colours along the way.
Since joining Yorkshire, he has captained the county in both T20 and Championship cricket, leading the team five times in August 2018 following an injury to Steve Patterson.
In 2017, he showed exactly why the county sought the services of one of England’s most exciting white ball players with a string of exhilarating displays in the T20 Blast.
An experienced campaigner with the white ball, Willey has been a regular feature at domestic T20 Finals Days with Northants and Yorkshire, the latter in his first season at Headingley.
He also played an integral part in England’s run to the World T20 final in India in March and April of 2016. He returned to India prior to the 2018 English summer to play for Chennai Super Kings in the IPL, helping them win the competition.
Unfortunately, towards the end of the 2018 domestic summer, Willey picked up a back injury, ruling him out of the closing stages of the campaign and England’s early winter tour to Sri Lanka.
Willey bats down the order for his country, but has turned heads regularly at the top of the T20 order in domestic cricket with his powerful striking.
He also bowls with the new ball and at the death, with swing a major weapon of his, and he has spoken of how Yorkshire legend Ryan Sidebottom helped him as he bids to improve with the red ball.
Willey’s first season in a Yorkshire shirt was disrupted by injury as well as international calls, but he showed glimpses of his talents.
He has also played winter domestic cricket in Australia’s Big Bash T20 League for Perth Scorchers and also in the Abu Dhabi T10 League. He is the son of former England international Peter.
Having played age-group cricket for Northants, he debuted in their second team aged 17 in 2007.
Willey made his maiden first-team appearance for Northants in a three-day game against Cardiff University at Wantage Road in April 2009.
He struck a first-innings 60 on County Championship debut against Leicestershire at Grace Road later in the month, contributing to a draw, and made his List A and Twenty20 debuts within the next five weeks.
In 2011, Willey struck 64 in the first innings of a Championship win over Gloucestershire at Wantage Road in September, but his main contribution proved to be five wickets in each innings. Match figures of 10-75 remain a career best return.
Willey led Northants to their maiden T20 domestic title with a stunning all-round display in the final win over Surrey at Edgbaston in mid-August 2013. He smashed a 27-ball 60 at the top of the order before adding 4-9 from 2.3 overs in defence of 195, including a hat-trick.
He also walloped 167 off 101 balls from the top of the order in a 40-over win against Warwickshire on the same ground later in the month.
In 2015, Willey scored his two first-class hundreds to date at the start of the year against Gloucestershire at Wantage Road, 104 not out, and Derbyshire at the County Ground, 103. Both were in drawn matches.
That year proved to be memorable.
He made his one-day international bow against Ireland in Malahide in May and his T20 debut against New Zealand at Emirates Old Trafford in June, making further limited overs appearances in the year against Australia on home soil and Pakistan in the UAE.
He smashed a 40-ball T20 hundred for Northants against Sussex at Hove in August, then the eighth fastest of all-time and the fastest of the English season. It took Northants to Finals Day, but they lost the final against Lancashire.
Signed for Yorkshire in August on a three-year contract and penned a winter Big Bash deal. Ahead of 2017/18 Down Under, he signed a new two-year deal with the Scorchers, which took his campaigns with them to four. He won the title with them in 2016/17.
Willey’s 2016 summer with Yorkshire, which started off the back of that World T20 final appearance against the West Indies, was disrupted by abdominal and hand injuries, but he did manage to take nine wickets in four Championship matches and hit two T20 half-centuries on the way to Finals Day.
He took an ODI career best 4-34 in a win over Sri Lanka at Cardiff and a IT20 career best 3-20 in that aforementioned West Indies clash.
Willey was not an ever-present for England in 2017, but he was in the Blast for Yorkshire and was superb, particularly with the bat.
He found a home at number three in the order and scored 446 runs, including a blistering career best 118 in a big home win over Worcestershire in July, the same match in which visiting batsman Ross Whiteley hit six sixes in an over. Willey also took eleven wickets.
In October, he became a father for the first time.
Willey played three times for Chennai before returning to Yorkshire, where he enjoyed an excellent start to his Royal London one-day Cup campaign.
He took four wickets in a win at Derbyshire in late May, matching that a few days later against Lancashire, also hitting a blistering century in a win. He then claimed a miserly three-for and hit 71 against his former county as Yorkshire marched through to the knockout rounds.
Willey also took four wickets in an ODI win over Australia at Durham and hit his maiden ODI fifty in a win over India at Lord’s.
He struck three fifties in a run of four T20 Blast games for the Vikings and captained Yorkshire in Championship matches against Worcestershire and Somerset in August.
The 2019 summer proved to be a challenge for a player who is closing in on 200 first-class career wickets and 150 in List A. He is also within touching distance of 2,000 career List A runs and 3,000 in T20s.
Willey’s frustrations were highlighted by his World Cup omission, with Jofra Archer getting the nod ahead of him. But he only played 19 times across all forms for the county, with family issues contributing to him not being able to get much momentum. He scored a best of 72 not out in a tied Royal London one-day Cup game against Derbyshire at Headingley and took 4-18 in a Blast victory over Northants late in the summer.
A winter at home ahead of 2020 looks set to stand him in good stead, and it would be no surprise to see him fly over the next couple of years.
He will also play for the Headingley based Northern Superchargers in the new Hundred competition.
NameDavid Jonathan Willey
BornFebruary 28, 1990, Northampton
RoleLeft-handed batsman, left-arm seam bowler
County DebutNottinghamshire v Yorkshire at Nottingham, May 1, 2016
First ClassLeicestershire v Northamptonshire at Leicester, Apr 15-18, 2009