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‘I didn’t want to go to the ground, had fallen out of love with the game’: England all-rounder David Willey

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England team player David Willey celebrates the dismissal of West Indies batsman Lendl Simmons. England team player David Willey celebrates the dismissal of West Indies batsman Lendl Simmons. (Hindustan Times)          

There are only a certain number of players than a team can pick for the World Cup. They announce their squad for the perennial tournament and naturally some players get selected while some get dropped. The whole culmination of a season for a cricketer comes to the fore when a World squad is announced. But it is devastating for the players to get ousted before a World Cup. In India, Ambati Rayudu faced the brunt and eventually announced his retirement.

In England, 30-year-old pacer David Willey was ignored for the World Cup last year despite being with the side for the majority of the year. Rising fast bowler Jofra Archer was favoured over Willey by the selectors for the 2019 Cricket World Cup. He was also left out of the limited-overs tours of New Zealand and South Africa.

But he made a roaring comeback into the team with a maiden five-wicket haul against Ireland. After the game, Willey revealed that he had “fallen out of love for the game” following his last-minute ouster from England’s World Cup squad. The 30-year-old pacer has taken 57 wickets in 47 ODIs.

READ | He told me he is going to score a hundred in an hour: L Balaji lavishes praise on former India batsman

David Willey celebrates after taking a wicket.David Willey celebrates after taking a wicket. ( Action Images via Reuters )

“I just didn’t want to be there. I didn’t want to go to the ground. When I was at the ground, I didn’t want to be there, and I wanted to get back to the hotel. I’d fallen out of love with the game, I think,” he was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.

Willey said the coronavirus-forced break actually helped him as he made a successful return to guide England to a six-wicket win over Ireland in the first ODI on Thursday.

“It was just special to be out there playing for England again. I’ve gone away and worked quite hard to get back near my best. It’s been a rollercoaster, but I was just out there enjoying my cricket today. I’m moving in the right direction and I feel like my best cricket is still to come,” he said.

“Circumstances have given me this opportunity. I didn’t get a look in over the winter, I missed out there. The extended break has been really good for me. The timing for all of this has worked out perfectly for me and it was the icing on the cake.”

Willey also talked about the depth that England has in the limited-overs setup.

It’s an unbelievable squad. You look at the players that still aren’t getting a look-in and the guys that went home from this camp: there are some brilliant cricketers sat on the sidelines that are still trying to find a way in.”

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