BIG INTERVIEW: Will Young aims to maintain upward career curve with Northamptonshire

It has been a whirlind couple of years in the career of Will Young - and the New Zealand batter is looking forward to his next exciting challenge at Northamptonshire.

By Jeremy Casey
Thursday, 21st April 2022, 11:34 am
New Northants signing Will Young

The 29-year-old made his Northants debut on Thursday with Yorkshire’s visit to Wantage Road in the LV= Insurance County Championship Division One, and he went into that match full of confidence.

That's because Young has really emerged as a better of genuine international class since he make his Test debut for the Kiwis against the West Indies in December, 2020.

In his nine Tests he has scored five half-centuries and become a key part of the New Zealand top order, and then earlier this month he proved his white ball credentials with his first centuries for his country, hitting three figures twice in three innings in the ODI series win over the Netherlands.

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Will Young celebrates his second ODI century for New Zealand against Netherlands earlier this month

He also has the little matter of 5,869 first-class runs under his belt at an average of 41.62, having hit 12 centuries and 34 half-centuries.

Young has signed up to play 12 of Northants' Championship matches this summer, as well as in the Steelbacks' Royal London One Day Cup, and then there is a three-match Test series for the Kiwis against England in June to look forward to as well.

"It has been an exciting couple of years for me to be honest," said Young as he took a break from his first day training with his new team-mates on Tuesday.

"I have been getting opportunities for New Zealand, and now trying out the county stuff, but I try not to look too far ahead.

Will Young has scored five half-centuries in his nine Test match appearances for New Zealand

"I don't want to build it up too much and I will take it game by game, but I suppose at the back of my mind I know there is a Test tour coming, and to have the opportunity to play at Lord's against England in England is pretty special and something I am really looking forward to."

Before that though, there is the little matter of a run of five Championship matches for Northants in the space of five weeks.

Much will be expected of Young when it comes to volume of runs, but that is not something the player will be getting too hung up on, as for him it is all about time in the middle.

"My hopes and expectations aren't goal orientated around x amount of runs at the end of the season," he said.

Will Young enjoyed a four-match County Championship stint with Durham last summer

"I will take it game by game, and I understand it is going to be some good, hard cricket.

"We are playing in division one, which is a challenge in itself, especially as an opening batsman.

"You have got to be able to ride the waves, sometimes you will nick off early, and sometimes you will get in.

"The challenge for me is that I want to spend as much time as I can out there batting and learning about my game and conditions over here.

"I think if I can do that, then the results will hopefully take care of themselves, both personally and for the team."

It is certainly a busy start to life as a Northants player for Young, as in the next five weeks they play Yorkshire, Essex, Surrey, Warwickshire and Kent, and he is okay with that.

"It is the best way to play, to have a quick turnaround, especially as a batsman," said the New Plymouth-born player.

"You get into the rhythm of batting and things start to click for you, but it is obviously tough work if you are a fast bowler sometimes.

"But even for them, if you get into a good rhythm then it can be nice as you only have to bowl in the nets or train as much, you are just focusing on playing.

"I think deep down it is what all of us want to do, and that is play the game, rather than training.

"But it is going to be a busy five weeks leading up into that Test series against England, but it is going to be an enjoyable five weeks too."

So, how exactly did the move to Northamptonshire come about?

"I got a taste of county cricket last year when I played four games at Durham, and I really enjoyed my time up there," said Young, who plays for Central Districts back in New Zealand.

"The season ended and I talked to my agent in New Zealand, and told him that I was really keen to come back over, but Durham weren't looking for a batsman.

"I then heard through my agent that Northants were interested, and were keen to sign me for a longer period of time, taking in the majority of the Championship games and also the Royal London One Day Cup.

"The contract came forth and it sounded great. I can get stuck in from the start of the season before the Test tour in June, and then stay on afterwards and play some white ball cricket as well as finishing off the Championship.

"It just worked out really well, and I am stoked to be here and have this opportunity."

And he revealed that there at lease one or two familiar faces at the County Ground.

"The club is really good, I arrived on Easter weekend and got settled in," said Young.

"On Tuesday was the first day of training, got to meet all the guys, meet the coaches for the first time, although I do know Ben Smith, the batting coach.

"He has coached and played for my domestic team back in New Zealand, so I knew Spongy before coming here which is a cool thing, and Josh Cobb played as our pro many years ago when I was just starting out.

"So there are a few connections there.

"It looks a really nice wicket, looks a nice ground, they are a good bunch of guys so I am really happy."

As a top order batsman, Young is going to have to adapt to playing in English conditions before the summer has even started - but he has been doing his research, and is hoping he has actually arrived at the best time!

"I have been keeping an eye on the matches, and there seems to be a lot of runs being scored!" he said.

"I also read an article recently, and it was saying that April in England is actually the best time to bat, I don't know if that's because it's too cold for the ball to swing, or the groundsman have more time to prepare the pitches.

"Whatever it is, there are a lot of runs being scored and I am looking forward to getting out there to tell you the truth!"