England all-rounder David Willey has signed a three-year contract with Yorkshire as the club that has led the way in producing its own players has pulled off a spectacular signing to help address its disappointing limited-overs form.
Willey produced the performance of the season when he struck a matchwinning century against Sussex at Hove in the NatWest Blast quarter-final, including 34 off an over from the former England slow left-armer Mike Yardy.
Yorkshire will now seek to build a young, predominantly homegrown one-day team around him, in both 20 and 50-over formats as they seek to match their renewed authority in four-day cricket which is poised to bring them a second successive Championship title.
It remains to be seen whether Willey is considered for the vacant captaincy role in one-day cricket - Andrew Gale having stood down earlier this month and Alex Lees taking charge on a temporary basis.
Yorkshire's director of cricket, Martyn Moxon, delighted to have won the race to sign Willey in a crowded field, stressed, however, that he can have an impact in all competitions.
"He is a highly talented all round cricketer and will be a great addition to our current squad," Moxon said. "He will play a big part in helping us be competitive in all forms of the game and hopefully we can play our part in helping him realise his ambition of playing Test cricket for England."
If Willey's signing will be seen by many in Yorkshire as a regrettable weakening of their reliance on home-produced players, there is something about his no-nonsense, uncomplicated, cricketing manner that will immediately endear him to spectators in the Broad Acres. Like his father, Peter, before him, he is a straightforward man who does not have much time for fripperies.
Yorkshire's NatWest Blast crowds have grown substantially this season despite a second-bottom finish in North Group because of later start times after the installation of floodlights. Despite considerable drum beating about the emphasis on T20, the side - the likes of Jonny Bairstow apart - seemed unable to break the shackles with the bat and produced some of the worst death-bowling spells in the country with the ball.
Next season's marketing campaign will have Willey, non Yorkshireman or not, at its core. If they look back long enough in his family tree they can surely find a half cousin from Osbaldwick.
Willey, 25, has become an integral member of the England's one-day side is expected to add to his four caps when England take on Australia in next month's Royal London One Day International series. He hankers, though. after being taken seriously in the longer form of the game and with the stalwart career of another left-arm quick, Ryan Sidebottom, entering its still potent final phase, he is well placed to become his successor.
He has the chance to make a glorious farewell for Northants on NatWest Blast Finals Day at Edgbaston at the end of the month. It is a club that he has been connected with since childhood. When he made his Northants debut in 2009, he followed Peter, also a former England all-rounder, who played 17 years for Northants and England.
"I am really excited to be joining Yorkshire and being part of a progressive side," Willey said. "I'm looking forward to working with Jason Gillespie and the rest of the Yorkshire lads.
"This has been a tough decision to make because of my personal attachment to the County Ground. I came here many, many times as a boy and dreamed of playing for Northants. I will always be grateful for the years of coaching and mentoring that I have received which gave me the best start to my career.
"However, I feel that the time is right to move on, to experience a new approach to training and to broaden my cricket education. Yorkshire gives me the best opportunity to challenge myself working alongside some of the best players in the country.
Willey has been a somewhat late developer, as his career one-day stats testify. The left-hander currently averages over 23 with the bat in all List A matches with a top score of 167 and has taken 60 wickets at an average of just over 33.
In the first-class arena, Willey has played 58 matches with a top score of 104 not out at an average of 28.50. With the ball, he has taken 148 wickets at an average of just under 30.
He first sprung to national attention in T20 cricket in 2013 when, virtually single-handedly, he took Northants Steelbacks to a T20 title success in 2013 with an all-round display in the final that included the fastest half-century of the season, a direct-hit run-out from the deep and a hat-trick to finish off the match.
If Yorkshire will feel their close-season work is as good as done, life looks tougher for Northants, whose financial woes could yet lead to more players leaving the county before next season dawns.