Ashes winner Marcus Trescothick believes it is a matter of when and not if Northamptonshire all-rounder David Willey plays for England after an eye-catching performance during FLt20 Finals Day.
The 23-year-old left-hander was drafted into the England Lions squad for the first time at the start of the month, one of 12 chosen for three upcoming one-day matches against Bangladesh A.
His selection was reward for a fine season to date that has seen him take 65 wickets in all formats of the game and lead Northamptonshire to FLt20 Finals Day for the first time since 2009.
And his performances at Edgbaston at the weekend will have done his international chances no harm at all; he was the pick of his Northants colleagues as he ended with a hat-trick as his side secured their first FLt20 title with a thumping 102-run victory over Surrey.
In a match reduced to 18 overs a side by rain, Willey smashed 60 off 27 balls to get Northants off to a flier and also claimed 4-9 with the ball.
After inspiring Northamptonshire to victory over Essex in the first semi-final, he then turned it on against Surrey in the final and Trescothick, still playing for Somerset, is adamant Willey can soon be starring for England’s first team.
“David is a good cricketer. He has been involved with the England Performance Programme for a number of years, so he is on the radar and they have kept a good close eye on him,” said Trescothick.
“Obviously they have got him really fit and strong – one more push for him and he will have a really good chance of making the next level.
“He is consistent in all formats and with bat as well as ball. Obviously bowling is his biggest asset – he’s a strike bowler and bowls at good pace – but his batting has come forward.
“He plays a huge role for them in one-day cricket, sometimes as a pinch-hitter at the top of the order or coming in middle order, but he also gets runs in the County Championship.
“Gone are the days when you have three No.11’s in the lower order – you have got to be able to hold the bat and do a good job or turn yourself into someone that can do something.”
Willey, who has been nominated for the LV=County Championship Breakthrough of the year award, is close to 150 career appearances for Northamptonshire having made his debut at the start of the 2009 season against Leicestershire in the County Championship.
And, while it is only now that England are knocking, Trescothick – who made over 200 international appearances in all formats – admits he has been aware of Willey’s talents for quite some time.
“We have only played him in one-day cricket because we are in different divisions but he has been a great performer for a couple of seasons now with Northants,” he added.
“Obviously I spoke with his dad a bit – I know his dad fairly well through his umpiring. We have played against each other a few times and we say hello. He is a good kid.”
Marcus Trescothick was speaking on behalf of County Championship title sponsors LV=. To Vote for your LV=County Championship Breakthrough Player, visit www.LV.com/cricket