David Willey says Yorkshire threatened to tear up contract for playing in IPL
• Willey calls chance to join Super Kings a ‘no-brainer’
David Willey says Yorkshire threatened to rip up his contract over the 11th-hour move to the Indian Premier League at the start of the season.
The all-rounder, who saw England home with the bat in their three-wicket win over Australia on Wednesday, has since buried the hatchet with his employer by this week signing a one-year extension that takes him up to the end of 2019. But the initial reaction to his missing the first seven weeks of the summer to play (somewhat fleetingly) for Chennai Super Kings, the eventual IPL winners, as a late injury replacement still demonstrates the angst caused by overseas Twenty20 leagues.
On his £225,000 IPL deal, Willey said: “It was a no-brainer. You don’t get the chance to go and play in the biggest T20 competition in the world every day. I was threatened with them ripping my contract up, which wasn’t great, but that has all been resolved now.
“I think the landscape of the modern game is changing and I do think that counties should try and work with it – rather than work against it – and look at the longer-term picture. There would be fewer arguments and fallouts along the way.”
Despite playing just three games for CSK, Willey claims Yorkshire benefit from the knowledge he gleaned when rubbing alongside the likes of MS Dhoni, Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis, both in terms of his own performances and advice to younger players.
He also feels his love for cricket was renewed: the catalyst for the 11 wickets and scores of 131 and 71 witnessed during a brief three-match return in the Royal London Cup.
The club may not quite be converted by this IPL enthusiasm yet. Martyn Moxon, director of cricket, is pushing for a cut-off point to prevent such late moves – he also lost Liam Plunkett to Dehli Daredevils on the eve of the season – and a greater share of the compensation the IPL pays to the England and Wales Cricket Board.
While Plunkett is likely to leave Headingley at the end of the year – the fast bowler has been cleared to speak to other counties – Willey is sticking around and keen to play all formats, even if his appearances will remain sparse if he is part of England’s World Cup plans.
The series-opening win over Australia at the Oval helped his cause here. After being mauled by Scotland on Sunday, the 28-year-old claimed one for 41 and an unbeaten 35 from No 8 that steered Eoin Morgan’s side to their target of 215 – his highest score in 56 limited-overs matches, despite being an explosive opener at domestic level.
He added: “It is a different role and it requires different skills to what I do at Yorkshire. It was nice to be out there at the end. I’ve probably underachieved with the bat to date for England. I’ve got to keep developing my game for the latter stages of an innings.”