DAVID Willey wanted to “turn heads” when he was helping to design Yorkshire’s new Nike shirt for this summer’s Vitality Blast campaign. After all, that’s how he wants the Vikings to play their cricket.

The county have unveiled an exciting new four-year partnership with the world’s leading sports and leisurewear brand, with new kits produced for men's and women's cricket.

Willey, who was recently appointed as T20 captain, helped to design the Blast shirts, admitting: “When I was in conversations about what I wanted for the shirt, ultimately I wanted something that was a bit out there and would leave an impression and turn heads.

“The club are very strong on their traditional colours, and Nike were also very keen on the distorted rose, which also goes through into the 50-over kit as well. I think they look great.

“What I want for us as a team is to leave an impression on people. So I wanted the kit to reflect that.”

The dynamic all-rounder found enjoyment in contributing to the kit design, but laughed when asked if any more fashion designing deals have been secured, saying: “Not yet, they must have an old number or something.”

Enjoyment is a key word for Willey at present. That disappeared after a horrible 2019, highlighted by his last-minute omission from England’s World Cup squad.

Willey played a huge part in England’s 50-over squad over the previous four years, in which he was tasked to swing the ball early on in the innings.

His batting also helped England when they needed someone to finish the game off.

He rediscovered that sparkle at the start of last summer, but the good times tailed off as the year wore on.

A return to England one-day colours, and a player-of-the-series display against Ireland, put a smile on his face, before further frustration came in his omission from the ODI series against Australia.

He refused the selectors’ offer of a place as a reserve for that series in order to get on the field for Yorkshire.

But he only played two Blast games before contracting coronavirus and missing the final fortnight of the season.

He was also nursing a stress fracture of his back at the same time.

But, now, a week away from the start of the 2021 season, he certainly has that enjoyment and love for the game again.

“If I play for England again, great. But that’s not my sole focus now,” he said.

“When you’re in and out and on the sidelines, you’re always waiting for that phone call, ‘Am I in the squad, am I not?’

“There’s still so much cricket to be played for me in England and around the world. And I’m really excited as to what the development of Yorkshire’s T20 side will look like over the coming years.

“We’ve had some lads who have gained experience last year and also through the winter.

“When four of us were unavailable at the end of the summer (due to coronavirus), that gave chances for young lads, who said they learnt more in those four games than in 12 months of practice.

“And the way the lads have gone about their white ball practice this winter has been exceptional.

“They have all bought into the way we want to play, which is exciting.

“But you don’t become an experienced T20 cricketer overnight, and we have to remember that coming into the competition, we’re going to make mistakes.

“The important thing is how we start. We want to play the brand of cricket we’ve talked about over the past 12 months. Whatever happens in those first few games, we want to continue doing that.

“If we get to the back end of the competition and it hasn’t worked out, I’d rather us go down trying to play our way. That way, it falls on my shoulders - and I’m alright with that.”

A key part of developing an attacking brand of cricket, believes Willey, is consistency in selection.

He said: “If it doesn’t come off, the lads know I will back them and Galey (coach Andrew Gale) will tell them to go out with the same approach in the next game.

“If it’s my decision and it doesn’t work, I’m a big enough boy to take it on the chin. In doing that, hopefully I can give lads the freedom to go and play knowing they won’t be held responsible.

“I’ve got no ulterior motive in this side. I’ve had my crack with England. I just want to win trophies now.”

He continued: “Look at the sides that do well in T20 cricket. They have 12, 13 or 14 players who play throughout the whole competition, keep the same roles and things work like clockwork. We’re trying to get close to that even when the England lads come and go.”

Before T20 begins, however, the emphasis is on the County Championship.

For one reason or another, Willey, 31, has only played 13 four-day games for the White Rose since joining from Northamptonshire ahead of 2016. That is something he is desperate to change.

He said: “I still want to win a County Championship. And, selfishly, I don’t want to do it having only played one or two games. I want to play a big part. Hopefully this is the year.”

Even if he does get his wish for more red ball cricket, do not expect him to be an ever-present. His recent stress fracture of the back determines that that will not happen.

He has worked hard on modifying his bowling action to help ease the stress on his back, saying: “I’ve never really done much work on action, but I’ve been pestering Rich Pyrah all the time about it this winter.

“We’ve said in my appraisal that my workloads will be managed, and I agree with that. I may miss a couple of games as a result.

“Don’t get me wrong, if we’re trying to get across the line in that first game of the season or whenever, it won’t be a case of, ‘You’ve bowled 15 overs, that’s you done’.

“It just might be a case of being rested the next game after a heavy load of overs.”

Meanwhile, Yorkshire have also announced a three-year partnership with NIC Services Group LTD to become the club’s new front of shirt sponsor for the County Championship.

As part of the partnership, the Leeds-based company will be prominent across Yorkshire’s live first-class online coverage, have a significant presence at Emerald Headingley, Scarborough and York, and provide cleaning and facility management services at Headingley for the next five years.

Finally, Yorkshire have signed a prestigious two-year partnership with Vertu Motors plc.

Yorkshire’s players will wear Vertu Motors branding on the back and sleeves of all three playing shirts for the next two seasons.

Perimeter advertising will also be prominent at Headingley across all domestic and international fixtures.