Kane Williamson provides 'SA20' explanation behind giving up New Zealand central contract: 'It's an amazing competition' | Crickit
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Kane Williamson provides 'SA20' explanation behind giving up New Zealand central contract: 'It's an amazing competition'

Jun 20, 2024 05:16 PM IST

Kane Williamson gave up his NZ central contract but reiterated his commitment to the national team, with the only exception being the SA20 window.

Kane Williamson announced his decision to opt out of several international matches in January to join South Africa's Twenty20 league while still committing to continue playing for New Zealand as long as possible. Williamson, who is regarded as one of the nation's finest batters, emphasized his intention to manage his schedule more carefully.

New Zealand's Kane Williamson bats against Afghanistan during an ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match (AP)
New Zealand's Kane Williamson bats against Afghanistan during an ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match (AP)

On Wednesday, Williamson revealed he would step down from the captaincy of New Zealand's white-ball teams. Additionally, he will decline a national contract for the 2024/25 season, a decision that came following New Zealand's early exit from the T20 World Cup. Williamson has thus joined Trent Boult, James Neesham, and Lockie Ferguson, among others, as another high-profile figure who has given up on the central contract in the country.

Returning home on Thursday, Williamson reiterated his commitment to New Zealand cricket but stressed the need to balance his playing commitments. "I want to play as long as I can. I love playing for New Zealand, I've really enjoyed my time captaining," the 33-year-old told reporters at Auckland airport.

"But I'm excited with what's next for the team in terms of their leadership as well and I'm looking forward to being a part of that.

"In terms of a time-frame (for my career), it's difficult to say. I want to keep being fit, keep doing as well as I can, keep trying to improve and play as long as I can."

Williamson on SA20

Unlike Boult, who has played for the Black Caps only in major tournaments and ICC events since his departure from a central contract, Williamson plans to be available for most of his national team commitments.

The main exception will be the January window next year, during which Williamson aims to participate in the third season of South Africa's SA20 league.

"It looks like an amazing competition," Williamson said about the SA20.

"There's a number of great competitions on during that time but SA looks really exciting. It's a wonderful place to go and play. It's something a little bit different.

"For me and my family at this stage of my career and the calendar that we have coming up, it's something exciting and something to look forward to and something a little bit different, without really interfering with the international schedule. Although it's turning down a central contract, it's really no different in terms of the playing schedule and representing New Zealand," he added.

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