Root and Willey to boost Yorkshire?
Can the new boy on the block and an experienced head on young shoulders help kick-start Yorkshire's Specsavers County Championship season in the match against Nottinghamshire which starts at Trent Bridge on Sunday?
The title-holders have drawn their first two games, both played in Arctic conditions for much of the time, but their form has been patchy and they need a win to stop getting dragged into the lower half of the table.
Perhaps Joe Root and Yorkshire debutant, David Willey, will be able to add that little bit of sparkle that can make all the difference.
Superstar Root has been freed by England to play in Yorkshire’s next two Championship matches and all-rounder Willey, signed from Northamptonshire at the end of last season, is certain to play at Trent Bridge following Ryan Sidebottom’s ankle injury which he picked up while bowling against Warwickshire at Edgbaston earlier this week.
It will be Root’s first appearance in the competition since turning out against Somerset at Headingley in the last match of the 2014 campaign when he scored 35 and 97 and, when he steps out at Trent Bridge, it will be his 39th first class appearance for Yorkshire - which will equal the number of Test matches he has played in.
It’s a statistic which shows how infrequently top notch players are available for their counties these days.
Root’s success with his country is marginally better than it is with Yorkshire. For England he has batted 72 times, scoring 3,406 runs at 54.93 with nine hundreds; when wearing a White Rose cap he has had 63 knocks, scoring 2,463 runs at 43.98 with five centuries.
Root’s World Cup team-mate, David Willey, knew when he joined Yorkshire that he would probably after to wait a while before getting his chance in the Championship but he’s a very competitive young man and he will be relieved that it has come sooner rather than later.
Although Willey was signed mainly to add a cutting edge to Yorkshire’s Twenty20 cricket he is exactly the right man to boost their first class squad and follow in the footsteps of Sidebottom as their leading left-arm fast bowler. That is, of course, if his progress is not so swift that he is soon snapped up by England for the Test scene.
David has exactly the same cricketing ambitions as his father, Peter, who played for England, Northamptonshire and Leicestershire before becoming a first-class umpire and who caused Yorkshire plenty of problems on occasions with his gutsy batting and off-spin bowling.
“I play cricket to win,” said David. “Anything I compete in I want to win, whether that be on a cricket field or in a board game.
“Test cricket is still the pinnacle and I’ve always wanted to follow in my dad’s footsteps and play Test cricket. I have now got recognition in one-day cricket but I’ve got a long way to go in Championship cricket to maybe get Test recognition and I hope this is a stepping stone to doing that.
“I think that it’s becoming well known that to play Test cricket you need to be playing in Division One of the Championship. I’m here at Yorkshire now and hopefully when I get the opportunity I can perform and put my name in the hat.”
From Yorkshire’s point of view, if he can start performing straight away by helping them to win at Trent Bridge then so much the better.