Ross Whiteley's feat of hitting six sixes in an over off Yorkshire's left-arm spinner Karl Carver won his global attention and no doubt had more than a few people uttering the word: "Who?"

Whiteley certainly packs a punch for Worcestershire in limited-overs cricket, but he has struggled to win a place in the Championship side, either here or at his previous county Derbyshire, and his ferocious leg side hitting has never lifted him beyond the reputation of county cricket journeyman.

What is not recognised, however, is that Whiteley's sixes per match ratio in professional Twenty20 is up there with the best.

He had entered the top ten even before he lay about Carver and today, thanks to another eight sixes, he lies seventh on the list of most persistent T20 six-hitters, his average of 1.32 per game now putting him above such notables as Brendon McCullum, Shane Watson and Martin Guptill.

Whiteley struck 29 sixes in his first T20 summer for Worcestershire in 2015 - a tally only equalled in the NatWest Blast that summer by Chris Gayle, who gained rather more attention down at Somerset. Most of those sixes fly over cow corner, but he is mightily effective and for once, after peppering the short legside boundary at Headingley, he has attracted attention.

Top seven (sixes per match)

1 Chris Gayle Sixes 747 at 2.52
2 Chris Lynn 165 at 1.79
3 Evin Lewis 105 at 1.78
4 Rassie van der Dussen 83 at 1.46
5 Hamilton Masakadza 150 at 1.34
6 David Warner 314 at 1.33
7 Ross Whiteley 91 at 1.32


Willey finally shows Yorkshire what he is made of

David Willey, who has reconfirmed himself as one of England's most destructive T20 cricketers, does not look the sheepish sort, but when he went back to his old county Northants in the Blast back on July 11, he might have been tempted to avoid eye contact.

Three months into the English season, he had managed 19 days cricket, during which he managed a motley collection of 124 runs in nine innings and 13 wickets. He was an unused squad member for England in the Champions Trophy and, even when he did get a game, he batted low down the order and was rarely invited back for a second spell if the ball was not swinging.

At Yorkshire, too, talk of him being a natural replacement for Ryan Sidebottom, whose sterling service comes to an end in September, has so far looked wide of the mark.

Through it all, Willey badgered Yorkshire to let him open the batting in the Blast and, although he had to settle for No 3, his season has finally caught light: 70 against Birmingham at Headingley on Friday night; 118 from 55 balls with eight sixes against Worcestershire on the same ground on Sunday afternoon - even if his career-best T20 innings did slip under the radar as Whiteley struck six sixes in an over in reply.

For T20 to mature as a game, results have to matter - and that means tougher judgments on players' performances, from the media and fans alike.

Willey, who was struggling to cope with the stop-start career of an England squad player, was rightly gaining attention, both on the terraces and in print, for sub-standard displays in his season-and-a-half from Northants.

Yorkshire's director of cricket, Martyn Moxon, was even forced to insist that things would come right with regular cricket. And they have done that with a vengeance - leaving coach Andrew Gale to proclaim that he would have "11 David Willeys on the teamsheet."


Top Billings no longer

Sam Billings is another fringe England player whose career has faltered when, at 26, he needs to be developing his game and, in the process, enjoying the adulation of spectators. He no doubt feels the same way, but identifying the problem is one thing, finding a solution quite another.

His 64 against Sussex at Hove on Sunday - where Kent scrambled a tie from a rain-affected affair thanks to Alex Blake's direct-hit run-out from long-on off the final ball - was a rare bright spot in an unproductive year. It was good just to see that he was playing cricket again.

Billings' innings was his only Blast half-century to date, and Kent cannot afford such a vital component to misfire if they are to reach the quarter-finals. He has managed only two Championship matches, and is yet to pass 50; and played only two Royal London Cup games, another 50 here; and has become a regular England benchwarmer.

For players like Billings, highly valued but rarely used, the permanent conflict between England and the professional clubs can be difficult to bear.


Beach cricket catches the tide

Perhaps this column is imagining things, but the start of the summer holidays does seem to have come with an upsurge in beach cricket, certainly if one town in Pembrokeshire is anything to go by, where the beach at Newport on Sunday was full of youngsters arguing about the rules.

Perhaps the rising attendances in the Blast, with plenty of youngsters to be seen, are taking effect - even before T20 cricket makes occasional appearances on free-to-air TV from 2020?

It also illustrates the fact that Glamorgan are making great strides in promoting All Stars cricket - the ECB's impressive new junior initiative - across Wales with take-up rates to rival just about any county.

"Look," said the adult in charge, probably wishing he was taking a gentle stroll around Dinas Head. "These are the rules, so you can all shut up. Or the tide will be in before you get a bat."

The threat of an approaching tide might be just what is needed to keep Blast overrates up to the mark. It would certainly focus Jade Dernbach's mind if he has to stand in as captain at Surrey again. But expect IPL to trial it first.


Record crowd delights in Trent Bridge

If a poll was run to find England's most loved international ground, Lord's, which might presume itself to be favourite, would have a battle on its hands from Trent Bridge.

The sense is that Trent Bridge gets little wrong, and is a marvellous venue to watch cricket in all formats.

It can certainly provide a lesson to a few counties about how best to promote Twenty20 cricket, as a crowd of more than 14,000 for the East Midlands derby against Derbyshire - the highest for a county game in Nottinghamshire's history - can testify.

Quite an uplift for Notts too, in a week in which both Michael Lumb and Greg Smith had entered retirement, Lumb because of an ankle injury, Smith because a lack of opportunity had told him it was time to make other career plans.

At least Notts got the Royal London Cup safely in the trophy cabinet before the loss of two top-order batsmen from their squad, but reaching the quarter-finals of the Blast after this blip won't be any easier.