Willey braced for difficult conditions but aims for some reverse fortune

Yorkshire's one-day specialist David Willey bowls in England's warm-up match against Hong Kong. Picture: Getty
Yorkshire's one-day specialist David Willey bowls in England's warm-up match against Hong Kong. Picture: Getty
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David Willey is well aware his first full England tour will ask new questions of his bowling.

Willey is following up his promising maiden international summer with an exacting challenge against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, where he knows he must adapt his methods.

The 25-year-old left-armer found telling new-ball swing at home against New Zealand and Australia, but is unlikely to be able to replicate it in this much drier and hotter climate.

He could see that already from James Anderson and 
Stuart Broad’s outstanding efforts in England’s Test series defeat here.

Then on Sunday, he found out for himself in the one-day international warm-up victory over Hong Kong at the Sheikh Zayed Oval.

There, Willey took four for 43 as England bowled the associates out for 173 – but he had to tailor his methods to do so.

“It’s probably not going to swing as much up front, so we’ll be looking to get the ball to ‘reverse’ as early as possible,” he said, looking forward to the first of four ODIs against Pakistan at the adjoining stadium tomorrow.

Willey watched the Test series from afar but, like many, was impressed by England’s 
seamers.

“I thought they did very well, considering the conditions.

“If the guys who’ve just come out here can learn how to bowl in these conditions, that will set us up well.”

Willey has had an eventful time on the back of his breakthrough summer, moving from his native Northamptonshire to join county champions Yorkshire and also securing a Big Bash deal with another set of current title-holders Perth Scorchers.

Those new environments are both a world away, though, as he attunes himself to the present in the desert – and he was thankful to get a full 10 overs, and those four wickets, under his belt against Hong Kong.

“I was saying before the game that I feel a bit under-cooked,” he added.

“So I was wanting to find some rhythm out there… and taking a few poles is always good for 
confidence.

“I felt pretty average. It was always going to be tough, the early start after night practice [on Saturday]... but I got through in one piece, and it was a fairly productive day for all of us.”

The key, against opponents so adept in home conditions, 
will be how quickly England’s young team work out their new challenge.

“There’s plenty for us to learn every day,” said Willey. “Obviously, out here these are different conditions – and some guys haven’t been here before.

“There’s plenty of opportunities to learn, and the quicker we do it the better.”

Willey and his fellow limited-overs specialists have joined a clutch of Test veterans , who are all bearing up, he confirms, after their 2-0 defeat.

“The Test guys are in pretty good spirits. I don’t think the result in that series reflects on how the cricket was played.

“I think it’s probably nice for them to have a few fresh faces and fresh energy around.”