Derbyshire looking forward to Billy Stanlake leading Vitality Blast attack

Billy Stanlake
(Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)Billy Stanlake
(Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)
Billy Stanlake (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)
Pace star Billy Stanlake may have been Derbyshire’s second choice to lead their Vitality Blast attack this summer — but county head of cricket Dave Houghton says he will be a first-class signing.

The 24-year-old Australian will be the county’s second overseas player alongside New Zealand paceman Logan van Beek for the tournament, which starts in July.

Stanlake was snapped up following the withdrawal of Kane Richardson because of his inclusion in Australia’s current World Cup squad.

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The quick bowler was already on Derbyshire’s radar when they looked for possible recruits in the winter.

Houghton said the 6’ 8” fast bowler will bring another dimension to the team.

“He came on the scene a few years ago for Australia,” said Houghton. “He is seen as an exciting prospect and he’s played quite a bit of T20 international cricket for Australia.

“I’ve seen him bowl in the Big Bash quite a bit and a couple of times in the IPL.

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“Besides actually seeing what a prospect he is, other people said this is a guy you should be looking at.

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“When we were looking for an overseas T20 player the area we identified was someone who could take the new ball and importantly could bowl at the back end of the innings.

“We saw in our 50-over campaign we played some really good cricket but that was an area we needed to shore up and needed strengthening, so when we went for Kane Richardson it was with that in mind.

“But at the same time we had Billy on our list as well so when Kane withdrew because of his involvement in the World Cup we went straight to Billy and we think he will do a fantastic job for us.”

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Stanlake has an impressive pedigree in T20 cricket, having won the Big Bash League with the Adelaide Strikers in 2017/18.

He would have played for Yorkshire in last season’s Blast but pulled out on the advice of Cricket Australia.

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Stanlake claimed 11 wickets at an average of 22.36 in the Strikers’ BBL triumph and in total has taken 62 wickets in 51 Twenty20 matches, providing the pace and variety which Houghton and captain Billy Godleman were looking for.

“He was one of the guys on the forefront of our plans but we went for Kane because he’d had his best Big Bash campaign, but we had no hesitation in turning our attention to Billy [Stanlake],” added Houghton.

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“He brings a little bit of variation (to the attack) because he’s so tall.

“On top of being an outstanding bowler and having good pace, he brings bounce into the equation.

“Our wickets at Derby at the moment have been fantastic in one-day and four-day and I’m sure they’ll be the same in T20.

“The one thing they do have is pace and bounce, which I think he (Stanlake)will enjoy.”