David Willey urges England to give him a ODI World Cup spot

David Willey insists he should be handed a World Cup spot and urges England’s selectors to take him to India but admits ‘it’s never going to be easy’

  • David Willey believes he should be called up to England’s ODI World Cup squad
  • The 33-year-old was previously left out of England’s title-winning 2019 team
  • Willey believes the upcoming tour of India may require experienced players 

David Willey has urged England’s selectors to take him to the World Cup, insisting they will need a dependable ‘donkey’ during a gruelling nine-match group stage that criss-crosses the length and breadth of India.

It is more than four years since Willey was heart-breakingly edged out of Eoin Morgan’s squad at the last minute by Jofra Archer. The decision still rankles, but he is using it as motivation as he seeks to avoid a repeat after his inclusion in England’s provisional World Cup 15.

As luck would have it, Archer was at The Oval on Monday and Tuesday to take part in his first training session with his England team-mates since he was ruled out of the summer by a recurrence of a stress fracture to his right elbow.

England insist his presence changes nothing about World Cup selection, with Archer unlikely to be named as anything more than one of three travelling reserves when the squad is finalised by the September 28 deadline.

But the sight of him gliding in on something close to his full run-up might have triggered mixed memories for Willey, who admitted he ‘shed a tear’ on the day Morgan lifted the World Cup at Lord’s in 2019. Even now, the disappointment lingers.

David Willey is determined tto be taken to the upcoming World Cup with England

Willey (far right) previously missed out on being selected for England’s ODI squad in 2019

‘It probably would have been nice to receive a phone call from a couple of guys who were involved with the decision making,’ he said. ‘But it’s never going to be easy.’

‘I’m not saying I should have been there. I wasn’t playing particularly well at the time, so I’m under no illusion about why I missed out. But it doesn’t make it any easier and being a part of that for four years building up towards it… it was tough to miss out at the 11th hour.’

Asked whether it would be difficult for England to change their provisional squad now, with less than a month to go before they kickstart the World Cup against New Zealand at Ahmedabad, Willey replied: ‘It’s professional sport, things change. But hopefully not. Goodness me, that would be a tough one to take.’

Since the end of the last World Cup, he has appeared in 20 of England’s 38 one-day internationals, making him their seventh-most regular player in that time.

And if the selectors are wondering whether one of their three left-arm seamers should make way to accommodate Harry Brook, then Willey might point to his ODI record in the intervening four years: 36 wickets at 22, compared with Reece Topley’s 20 at 27 and Sam Curran’s 24 at 37. Willey’s economy-rate of 5.22 is also the best of the trio, even if Curran is the best batsman.

Willey also emphasised his strong fitness record, which he described as ‘an asset to the group, with guys who sometimes struggle with niggles and things. Call me a donkey if you want, but to take a donkey out to what could be a tough trip, you just might need a donkey.’ He added: ‘They keep going, donkeys, don’t they?’

England play New Zealand today in the third ODI of a four-match series that is nicely poised at 1-1 – though Willey may sit the game out after playing in the first two, having taken three for 34 in Sunday’s comeback win at the Ageas Bowl.

And while he stressed his love of playing for England, he also summed up the dilemma faced by many white-ball cricketers battling for a regular international place.

Since the end of the last World Cup, WIlley has appeared in 20 of England’s 38 one-day internationals, making him their seventh-most regular player in that time

Willey (right) emphasised his strong fitness record when discussing his selection hopes

‘I don’t have a central contract, I haven’t had one, and the T20 leagues are paying a lot of money,’ he said. ‘Very often when I’m with England, I’m running the drinks.

‘These are all things that come into consideration. It’s not just the money, but being on the field actually playing as well. And I think I play my best cricket when I’m playing regularly.

‘So when you sit on the bench with England for a long period of time and then go to a competition and play, because you haven’t played for maybe three or four months, you’re probably not where you want to be.’

Meanwhile, opener Jason Roy is set to play his first international appearance of the summer today, at his home ground, after struggling with a sore back.

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