David Willey eager for World Cup spot but accepts place in England pecking order

David Willey says his goal is to play at the 50-over World Cup even though he is “completely at peace” with being overlooked by England.

Willey missed out on World Cup selection in 2019 when Barbadian-born fast bowler Jofra Archer, having qualified on residency just before the tournament, was preferred and England went on to win the trophy for the first time.

The 33-year-old all-rounder called it the “hardest point” of his career, and four years on making the England squad for the 2023 edition in India in October and November may prove an even trickier task.

England v South Africa – Third Vitality IT20 – Ageas Bowl

All-rounder David Willey says his ambition to play for England still burns bright (Kieran Cleeves/PA)

“I see myself with England as very much on the fringes,” said Willey, who has swapped Northern Superchargers for Welsh Fire in this season’s Hundred ahead of end-of-season ODI and T20 series against New Zealand.

“If everybody’s fit I probably don’t play and I don’t get picked. I’m completely at peace with that.

“Do I want to play for England? Yes. Do I want to play in the World Cup? Yes. But the priority for me is to enjoy my cricket and then international or franchise cricket will take care of itself.

“They (the selectors) know what I can do. I’m not an X-factor player, they know I’m reliable and what they’re going to get from me.

“If they want a banker I might come into the frame a little bit. I’ve done well with my resources, if you like, over the years.”

Pakistan v England – T20 World Cup – Final – Melbourne Cricket Ground

David Willey (far right) was in the England squad that won the T20 World Cup last year (PA)

Willey was part of England’s T20 World Cup-winning squad last November, although he did not feature in the tournament.

His last ODI cap came against South Africa in January – his 107th England white-ball appearance – as he opted out of the following tour of Bangladesh to spend time with his family before playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League.

England limited-overs captain Jos Buttler warned players who chose not to tour Bangladesh that it would put their place at risk, but Willey insists it was “100 per cent” the correct call for both family and financial reasons.

He said: “I was going off to the IPL and I’ve got a four and a five-year-old and a wife at home. I’m not centrally contracted, I’ve got an incremental contract. Being completely honest financially, it was an easy decision with what I would get at the IPL.

“That’s the challenge presented to the ECB at the minute. They are trying to work out what the future looks in terms of those central contracts and keeping players at ECB.

“The landscape of cricket is changing and it’s very difficult for people to get that right now, and what that looks like to make sure we are still promoting not only county cricket but playing for your country as well.”

Willey returned to his home county Northamptonshire this summer after spending six years at Yorkshire.

He has embraced the life of a franchise cricketer with various T20 spells in Australia, India and Pakistan and says the new and lucrative Major League Cricket in the United States is very much in his thoughts.

Willey said: “It’s a great concept, I’d love to go and do it, and there was an offer this year.

“But I’m moving house, I’ve just moved counties and, with The Hundred, family and having just come back from the IPL, it wasn’t the right thing for me to do this time.

“Last year I just spent 11 weeks at home. It’s a fine balance and sometimes you get it wrong but, as I say, I still want to play for England and in a World Cup.”

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