England’s dismal World Cup campaign produced another low on Wednesday when David Willey announced his international retirement amid rancour with the former captain Michael Vaughan describing the player’s treatment as “disgraceful”.
Willey, whose most recent performances have been one of the few positives in a desultory series of displays that have left England bottom of the World Cup table, was the sole member of the squad in India to miss out when the new batch of central contracts were handed out a week ago.
Vaughan pulled no punches on the BBC’s Test Match Special when he said: “[Willey’s] been England’s best player in the last three games. England have given out 29 contracts and he wasn’t worthy of a one-year contract, which I found staggering. The way he’s been treated in this World Cup has been disgraceful.
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“You’ve got a player playing in a World Cup, there’s a T20 World Cup next June, and even if you think at this stage David Willey isn’t going to be in the squad for the T20 World Cup, he’s probably an injury away from being in that 15. So you can’t tell me you don’t want to be looking after someone like David Willey. I don’t see how you can give 29 contracts out, yet you don’t give one to someone who’s playing the best in the World Cup.”
England’s managing director of men’s cricket, Rob Key, admitted Willey – who has taken five wickets in three games and delivered the best economy rate of the six fast bowlers England have used in India – “wasn’t best pleased” about the contracts snub. The player channelled his growing frustrations in the perfect way in Lucknow against the hosts at the weekend, taking a fine haul of three for 45 including star batter Virat Kohli for a duck, but has now resolved to walk away.
In an emotional statement posted on Instagram, Willey said: “I never wanted this day to come. From a young boy I’ve only dreamed of playing for England. I have worn the shirt with immense pride and given my absolute everything to the badge on my chest.”