David Willey has claimed Yorkshire have prioritised repairing their reputation over cricket after it was announced he was leaving the club to re-join Northamptonshire at the end of the season.
The 32-year-old England all-rounder swapped Wantage Road for Headingley ahead of the 2016 campaign and became an integral part of Yorkshire’s white-ball sides.
On Wednesday, Yorkshire and a “number of individuals” were charged by the England and Wales Cricket Board following an investigation into racism allegations made by Azeem Rafiq, and the handling of those allegations by the club.
Willey explained he has elected to leave and accused Yorkshire of making “inaccurate” comments over his contract negotiations.
“I have loved my life in Yorkshire, I have planted my roots and raised our young family here,” Willey said on Instagram.
“Unfortunately the circumstances surrounding recent events at the club have made my work environment unsettling.
“There are some great lads and fantastic players at Yorkshire and I hope the complications at the club will not take priority and overshadow their talents.
“The cricket and the current players seem to be secondary at the moment to repairing the club’s reputation.
“It certainly felt that way for me over the past 12 months. I play cricket because I love the game.
“I just want to play somewhere that cricket is the focus and where I feel valued on and off the field.
“The comments made my Yorkshire around my contract discussions with the club are inaccurate.”
Willey has opted to return to Northamptonshire, where he made 197 appearances between 2009 and 2015, on a four-year deal.
Yorkshire said in a statement they had wanted to retain Willey’s services but could not compete with Northamptonshire.
Interim managing director of cricket Darren Gough told Yorkshire’s official website: “The club was keen to keep Dave at Headingley, but unfortunately were unable to match Northants’ offer.
“Everyone at Yorkshire would like to thank Dave for his time at the club and wish him all the very best for the future.”
Willey told Northamptonshire’s official website: “The best journey takes you home.
The Yorkshire County Cricket Club can confirm that David Willey will leave Headingley at the end of the season to re-join former club Northamptonshire #OneRose
— Yorkshire CCC (@YorkshireCCC) June 15, 2022
“Wantage Road is home. I grew up playing on the outfield, behind the stands and in the groundsman’s shed.
“When I think back to my first introduction to cricket, I think of Northants.
“My love and passion for Northamptonshire has always been there and I hope I can give the club more than just my runs and wickets.
“I still have great ambitions in the game, to play at the highest level, to win trophies, but also to give back to the club that has given me so much.”