Kane Williamson steps down as New Zealand's Test captain: Details
In what can be termed an absolute shocker, Kane Williamson has stepped down as New Zealand's Test captain. He announced the same in a presser on Thursday (December 15). Veteran pacer Tim Southee has been named his successor. Williamson will continue his services as white-ball captain. He would also continue to play the longest format. Here are further details.
Why does this story matter?
- Williamson had been New Zealand's all-format captain since 2016.
- He led the team from the front and accomplished many accolades as a leader.
- He even led NZ to glory in the inaugural ICC World Test Championship (WTC) cycle.
- Williamson mustered a plethora of runs while leading the team.
- While Southee will now lead NZ's Test team, Tom Latham will serve as vice-captain.
What did Williamson say?
"Captaining the BLACKCAPS in Tests has been an incredibly special honor," he said. "For me, Test cricket is the pinnacle of the game, and I've enjoyed the challenges of leading the side." The 32-year-old cited workload a major reason behind his decision. "Captaincy comes with an increased workload on and off the field. I feel the time is right for this decision," added Williamson.
World Cups in Williamson's mind
While the ODI World Cup is less than a year away, the next T20 World Cup will be played in June 2024. "After discussions with NZC, we felt that continuing to captain the white-ball formats was preferable with two World Cups in the next two years," Williamson stated. "Playing for the BLACKCAPS and contributing in all three formats is my number one priority."
How Williamson performed as Test captain
With 22 wins in 40 games, Williamson finished as New Zealand's second-most successful Test skipper. Only Stephen Fleming (28) is ahead of him among Kiwis. Meanwhile, Williamson scored plenty of runs in this period. He smashed 3,331 runs at 57.43 with the help of 11 centuries and 14 half-centuries. Only Fleming (5,156) scored more runs as NZ Test skipper.
Southee yet to lead the team in Tests
Notably, Southee, who has captained NZ in 22 T20Is, is yet to lead the team in Tests. However, the 34-year-old is ready to embrace the challenge. "It's been a surreal few days and it's just a massive honor to be appointed as Test captain," he stated. With 347 wickets in 88 Tests, Southee is NZ's third-most successful bowler in Tests.
Why didn't Latham get the job?
Interestingly, Latham was Williamson's deputy in Tests for a long time. He even led the team in Williamson's absence at times, taking the Kiwis to four wins in nine Tests. The southpaw couldn't do much with the bat in these games, scoring 252 at 31.07.