Another of the England players who made his debut in the immediate aftermath of the 2015 World Cup, David Willey has been in and out of this England team over the last four years. A left arm seamer who rarely fails to get the new ball to swing, Willey certainly brings a different angle to England’s attack. Where he has struggled has been when the shine has gone and the ball stops swinging. He has neither the out and out pace or the variations to make world-class batsman think about taking him on. Even with that said he has a fine record with the ball in ODI cricket. 48 wickets an average of 35 with an economy rate of 5.5 are very fine returns. If he could find a way to be truly penetrative once the shine has gone from the new ball those figures would be even better.
What Willey has been able to do with reasonable regularity is take wickets in the opening Powerplay, and that is so important in modern-day one day cricket. If teams are having to rebuild early on, it is far harder for them to have a platform from which they can launch later in the innings. That is a skill which should not be underestimated.
An area of Willey’s game that has been under utilised by England is as a batsman. He has regularly opened the batting in domestic T20 cricket. He has two first-class hundreds, three List A hundreds and two tons in T20s. For England he has never batted higher than seven in ODIs. He has still managed a half century in that format for his country. It would be interesting to see Willey being given a pinch-hitting role in a shortened run chase to see if it came off, but with the glittering array of batting talent that England have at their disposal this is unlikely to happen.