His captain is tipping him to follow in his father's footsteps and forge an England career, but Northamptonshire's Twenty20 hero David Willey would not be surprised if dad Peter never turned up to see him play.
Peter, a batsman who made his reputation for unflinching bravery against the fearsome West Indies pace bowlers of the 1980s, rarely sees his 23-year-old son in action. He simply finds it too nerve-racking to watch.
"For someone who was known as such a hard man, it's pathetic really," David said after his astonishing one-man show carried Northamptonshire to a crushing defeat of Surrey in Saturday's Friends Life t20 final in front of a 25,500 full house at Edgbaston. "He ends up an emotional wreck."
Sent in as an emergency opener after team-mate Kyle Coetzer was ruled out of the final through injury, fast bowler Willey Jnr smashed 60 off just 27 balls – including the fastest fifty in the competition this year, off 19 deliveries – and then took four wickets for nine runs from 15 balls bowled, clinching a 102-run victory with a hat-trick as Surrey were dismissed for 92.
Yet Peter – nowadays a first-class umpire – was not around to celebrate with him. "He almost never watches me play – he just gets too nervous," David said.
Northampton-born David has been on England's radar as a lively left-arm quick bowler and is on course to take 50 first-class wickets in a season for the first time as Northamptonshire attempt to win promotion in the County Championship.
He has been picked for England Lions for three one-day internationals against Bangladesh A this week, although he believes he is not ready to be considered for the senior side.
"I don't think I'm ready for it yet," he said, referring to his bowling figures in the semi-final against Essex, when his four wicketless overs cost 43 runs. "Did you watch the semi-final? I'm probably lacking a bit of consistency."
"But ultimately I'd like to play international cricket. If I keep doing the right things the chance will come one day and with more days like that and I might get there quicker."
His captain, Alex Wakely, who himself made 59 not out in a stand of 107 with Cameron White (54) as Northamptonshire amassed 194 for 2 from a rain-reduced allocation of 18 overs, believes he will not have to wait long.
Wakely said: "It will surprise me if he's not playing for England, especially in white-ball cricket, within too long."
Coleman balls earn Warwicks tampering fine
Warwickshire have been fined £5,000 by the England and Wales Cricket Board after batsman Freddie Coleman pleaded guilty to ball-tampering in a second XI match earlier this month.
Coleman has also been handed a two-match ban, suspended for two years, over the incident, which occurred in a match against a Glamorgan second XI.
An ECB statement said: "The panel took into account that Mr Coleman pleaded guilty, that he is a young player and that he was allowed to act in this way with the knowledge of his captain."Reuse content