York­shire threat­ened to tear up con­tract over IPL, says Wil­ley

The Guardian - - SPORT - Ali Martin

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 em­ploy­ers by this week sign­ing a new 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 – Mid­dle­sex are un­der­stood to be favourites for his sig­na­ture – 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 caps, 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.”

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