London: Yorkshire director of cricket Martyn Moxon was left bemoaning an “impossible position” after confirming David Willey had signed for Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League just days before the start of the English County Championship season. Willey, a big-hitting batsman and left-arm seam bowler who has taken the new ball for England in limited overs cricket, received his call-up after an injury to India’s Kedar Jadhav. Willey, the son of former England batsman Peter Willey, has joined Yorkshire and England team-mate Liam Plunkett, selected by the Delhi Daredevils in place of South Africa paceman Kagiso Rabada last weekend, as a late call-up to the lucrative Twenty20 franchise event.
But the absence of Willey and Plunkett has disrupted Yorkshire’s plans ahead of the start of their campaign in the Championship, English domestic cricket’s first-class four-day competition, against title-holders Essex on Friday. Yorkshire leg-spinner Adil Rashid and Nottinghamshire batsman Alex Hales, both England internationals, had already signed limited-overs only contracts with their counties this season, thereby effectively ruling themselves out of Test selection. Now Plunkett and Willey’s decisions are bound to heighten fears that the standard of the Championship, the proving ground for Test players, is being compromised and Moxon said it was time for the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to “future-proof” the competition.
“We find ourselves in an impossible situation with these late replacement requests,” Moxon told Yorkshire’s website on Monday. “At the moment, we are potentially looking at a situation where if we deny a player an opportunity, we will be left with someone who is not completely focused on playing for Yorkshire. This would be counter-productive. “There are now 12 English players in this year’s IPL, so the issue goes further than just here at Emerald Headingley (Yorkshire’s headquarters in the northern English city of Leeds).”
The former Yorkshire and England opening batsman added: “I will be chairing a meeting with other directors of cricket tomorrow (Tuesday) at Edgbaston to discuss the future of the game. “With the number of domestic T20 contracts available worldwide, it is important that we future-proof the County Championship. “I will be calling for the introduction of a cut-off date, after which players will not be allowed to go to the IPL. Hopefully this can gain national approval and be supported by the ECB.”