New Zealand star cricketer Kane Williamson will step down as captain of the New Zealand Test side and Tim Southee to take up the leadership.
Meanwhile, in ODI and T20I cricket Williamson will continue to lead the Kiwi side and has also expressed his desire to play all three formats internationally.
Southee will become New Zealand’s 31st Test captain and will lead the Blackcaps on this month’s Test tour to Pakistan. As a vice-captain, Canterbury opener Tom Latham has been confirmed.
Moreover, on 38 occasions (22 wins, 8 draws, 10 losses) Williamson has captained the Test team.
“Captaining the Blackcaps in Test cricket has been an incredibly special honor. For me, Test cricket is the pinnacle of the game and I’ve enjoyed the challenges of leading the side in the format. Captaincy comes with an increased workload on and off the field and at this stage of my career, I feel the time is right for this decision. 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. I’m excited to support Tim as captain and Tom as vice-captain. Having played with both of them for most of my career, I’m confident they’ll do a great job. Playing for the BLACKCAPS and contributing in all three formats is my number one priority and I’m looking forward to the cricket we have ahead,” Kane said.
NZC CEO David White congratulated Williamson and said, “Kane is one of our all-time greats and our priority is to ensure he enjoys his cricket and plays for New Zealand for as long as possible. He’s a brilliant leader and the success the team has achieved during his time in the longest and arguably toughest format of the game has been nothing short of remarkable. Statistically, he’s the most successful Test captain we’ve ever had – which culminated in the team rising to the number one ICC Test ranking at the start of 2021 and the eventual victory in the ICC World Test Championship Final in June that year.”
“Tim’s a strong and tactically astute leader and has a good feel for the game. I believe he is the right person to build on the foundations that Kane’s created,” White said.
Talking about the Williamson captaincy New Zealand’s coach Gary Stead said, “Kane’s guided the Test team through an immensely successful period which is a testament to his ability to bring people together and work towards a common goal.”
Gary Stead further said, “He’s certainly led from the front with his own performances and that was very much the case during our push to win the World Test Championship. The Test team has continued to evolve and develop during his time and the fact we’ve been able to introduce new players and see them thrive almost instantly is a credit to Kane and his leadership. We hope by lessening his workload we can continue to see the best of Kane Williamson for longer on the international stage, and we know he will remain a key leader in this group.”
The decision to make Southee came down to the direction in which the Test team wanted to head.
“Tim’s a quality leader with a good cricket brain. We’ve seen his captaincy skills on display with the T20 side and I’m sure he’ll continue to bring an aggressive style, whilst still maintaining the core fundamentals of how this BLACKCAPS team operates in the Test arena. He will also come from a slightly different perspective in being a bowler which I’m sure will also bring with it new ideas and fresh thinking, ” Stead said.
However, Southee talked about the captaincy and said, “It’s been a surreal few days and it’s just a massive honor to be appointed as Test captain. I love Test cricket, it’s the ultimate challenge and I’m really excited by the opportunity to lead the team in this format. Kane’s been an outstanding Test captain and I’m looking forward to working with Gary on how we can build on that.”
Furthermore, on 26 December two-Test series will start in Karachi and will conclude in Multan on January 3.