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Yorkshire turn to Williamson for fourth stint

Kane Williamson turns one into the leg side Getty Images

When it comes to Kane Williamson, the sense is that Yorkshire think so highly of him they would give him the gig as an overseas player if he was available for a couple of net sessions and a promotional visit to a local school.

Williamson is back for his fourth stint at Yorkshire, valued not just for his status as No 3 batsman in the world, or even for the sense of continuity he brings, but also for the level-headed effect he can be expected to have on a Yorkshire dressing room about to enter (certainly as far as the bowling is concerned) a difficult transition.

In Williamson's absence, Yorkshire opted for a combination of Australians Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb last summer, plus a brief appearance from the Pakistan wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed.

But Marsh has been allowed to sign a full season's contract with Glamorgan as Yorkshire turn instead to Williamson for 11 of their 14 T20 Blast matches and four Specsavers Championship fixtures.

His first match will be against Durham in the Blast on July 13. In the Championship, he will play in a Roses fixture against Lancashire before departing after a trip to Trent Bridge on September 4.

Yorkshire's director of cricket Martyn Moxon said: "Kane's abilities are there for all to see and he has consistently performed well at the highest level for a significant period of time. He's a cool character and a calm, reassuring influence on and off the field. He is a perfect fit for our dressing room at this moment in time.

"He's a very experienced and highly skilled individual and, having spent periods of time with us in the past, Kane knows the club and the players well and will be able to slot straight in to our playing group."

Williamson helped Yorkshire to their first of two successive County Championships by scoring 629 runs at an average of 57 in 2014.

There is no doubt that Yorkshire would love him to become as influential a cricketer in time as Darren Lehmann, but with his international commitments likely to remain high for many years yet, such a hope is best reserved for wildest dreams..

There have been blips, too. In 2016, he requested time off from his Yorkshire commitments after fatigue brought a rare loss of form. Jason Gillespie, then Yorkshire's coach, stressed there was "notjing sinister" and blamed heavy scheduling, suggesting that "everybody gets affected with injuries, illnesses and the like."

Yorkshire - and Williamson - are confident that that this time they have got the balance right.