Kane Williamson draws curtains on New Zealand captaincy career: Highs and lows of a leader par excellence | Crickit

Kane Williamson draws curtains on New Zealand captaincy career: Highs and lows of a leader par excellence

Jun 19, 2024 10:07 AM IST

Kane Williamson stepped down as New Zealand's white-ball captain after the team's early exit in 2024 T20 World Cup.

Premier New Zealand batter Kane Williamson stunned the cricketing world by relinquishing white-ball captaincy after the team's poor show in the T20 World Cup 2024. The BlackCaps failed to reach the Super 8 stage after suffering defeats against Afghanistan and West Indies, and with Williamson stepping down, it marked the end of a memorable era in New Zealand cricket history.

Kane Williamson led New Zealand in 40 Tests, 91 ODIs and 75 T20Is.(REUTERS)
Kane Williamson led New Zealand in 40 Tests, 91 ODIs and 75 T20Is.(REUTERS)

Under Williamson's captaincy, New Zealand flourished across formats and played in the three ICC tournaments finals - ICC World Test Championship, ODI World Cup 2019 and T20 World Cup 2021. Furthermore, Williamson, after taking over the reins from Brendon McCullum, made NZ a force to be reckoned with as they made it a habit to challenge top teams, especially in ICC tournaments. Williamson led New Zealand in 40 Tests, 91 ODIs and 75 T20Is. He already stepped down as Test captain in 2022, succeeded by Tim Southee.

Meanwhile, Williamson also rejected the central contract for the 2024/25 season. However, he has opted to take up a contract outside of New Zealand in January, meaning he will be unavailable for part of the summer at home.

The highs and lows of Williamson's captaincy

Highs - Consistency in White-ball to World Test Championship Title

One of New Zealand's greatest achievements, not only under Williamson, but in their entire cricket history was when they won the inaugural World Test Championship title. In 2021, New Zealand outclassed India in the WTC final to clinch the iconic 'mace'. They started as underdogs but completely dominated the hosts to win inside three days following a clinical performance with the ball.

Between 2019 and 2021, New Zealand enjoyed a golden period under Williamson. They emerged runner-ups in T20 World Cup 2021, where Australia bettered them in the final. This was two years after NZ endured the mother of all heartbreaks in the final of the 2019 ODI World Cup, where England managed to beat them by the barest of margins in the Super Over on boundary count.

Williamson, who is still an inspirational figure in the Kiwi camp, led the team to the semi-finals of the previous three T20 World Cups, highlighting a golden era of New Zealand cricket in white-ball cricket.

Also Read | Kane Williamson quits as New Zealand captain, declines central contract after T20 World Cup debacle

Lows - Early 2024 T20 WC exit

The group-stage elimination from the 2024 T20 World Cup will leave a big dent in Williamson's rich legacy as New Zealand captain. It was an underwhelming start from New Zealand in the mega ICC event as they suffered a big upset against Afghanistan and then lost to West Indies in their next match. The franchise leagues might have hurt New Zealand cricket in recent times as several players had opted out of central contracts; and as a result, the board picked young players in the bilateral contests. The senior players only returned for the mega ICC event where things didn't work out for them as a unit.

Despite leading the team to multiple semi-finals and finals of ICC events, Williamson couldn't win them a major white ball ICC title, something he would look back at as a missed opportunity.

Kane Williamson's captaincy in Numbers

Williamson is behind Babar Azam and Aaron Finch in terms of most matches as captain in the T20Is. In 75 T20Is, he led New Zealand to 39 wins and enjoyed a winning percentage of 52.00, while the results of 34 matches didn't go in his favour.

The star batter led New Zealand in two ODI World Cups and helped them reach the knockout stages on both occasions - in 2019 and 2023. Under his leadership, the Kiwis won 46 ODIs out of 91 at a winning percentage of 50.54.

Williamson stepped down as Test captain a couple of years ago, but a triumph in the inaugural World Test Championship remains one of the biggest achievements in New Zealand cricket history. He led the Blackcaps in 40 Tests and helped them win 22 matches.

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