Towering Australian paceman Billy Stanlake has today signed a deal with the Yorkshire Vikings for this summer’s Vitality Blast.
The Adelaide Strikers quick - one of the fastest bowlers in Australia’s Big Bash League – is set to play a minimum of 12 matches for the Vikings, joining New Zealand captain Kane Williamson in making up the Club’s overseas quota of players for the 2018 competition. Stanlake, who may miss the opening two matches of the Blast if selected by Australia for their winter tour of Zimbabwe, will then play right through to final group match against Notts Outlaws at Emerald Headingley (August 17).
The Gold Coast product, who is Australia’s tallest ever cricketer at 6ft 8in, recently tore through New Zealand's top order in a lively spell of 3-15 in the opening game of the trans-Tasman T20 tri-series. He then claimed 2-28 in his four overs against England, and the key wicket of Martin Guptill as Australia ran out eventual winners in only his seventh international appearance.
Stanlake, who was included in Cricket Australia’s contract list last April, now qualifies as an overseas professional and the Club’s Director of Cricket Martyn Moxon is delighted to have secured his services so swiftly.
“We’re delighted to have Billy on board,” he told yorkshireccc.com. “He’s someone I noticed when I went out to see Dizzy (Jason Gillespie) in the Big Bash. He’s a tall, fast-bowler with pace and is a wicket-taking option for us. Obviously since then he has progressed to being a full international T20 cricketer so we’re really excited about him joining up with us.
“The pace and bounce he gets really stood out for me and he’s a genuine wicket-taker which is just as important as keeping the runs down in one-day cricket.
“He's something different for us and particularly with David Willey and Liam Plunkett not available for the first period of T20, assuming they’re playing for England, he’s a nice fit for us.”
With Cheteshwar Pujara, Williamson and now Stanlake all in place for 2018, Moxon added: “My fingers and toes are crossed that nothing spoils the recruitment we’ve done this winter, but we certainly look in a good place at the moment.”
The 23-year-old, who regularly clocks speeds in excess of 151km/h (93.8mph), has consistently proved he is a unique talent for both Queensland and the Adelaide Strikers, making his ODI debut for Australia against Pakistan in 2017. Stanlake finally looks to have overcome a rotten run of injuries, including a big toe infection that nearly led to amputation and three back stress fractures.
“I’m really excited about heading over to England and representing Yorkshire Vikings in the domestic T20 competition,” said Stanlake. “It’ll be a great experience and hopefully an exciting few weeks. It’s a huge club with great history and tradition and I’ve only heard positive things from the guys who have been there in the past.
“The Club have some really experienced pros on their books, who I’ll be looking to learn from during my time over there, but it will also be interesting to see how some of the Club’s talented youngsters go about their business too.
“For me it’s about building pressure and taking wickets, and hopefully that will go some way towards contributing to success for the team. I’m really enjoying my cricket at the moment, the body feels in a good place too and hopefully I enjoy a productive spell with the Vikings in July.”
Despite a First-Class career featuring just two matches, Stanlake’s 11 wickets in 10 matches, alongside Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan and Ben Laughlin, helped lift the Strikers to glory in BBL|07 . He averages 24.37 with the ball in T20 cricket at an economy of 7.49.
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