While the cricket world is focussed on the batting skills , rivalry between Indian cricket sipper and superstar Virat Kohli and Australian Steve Smith, New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson in his own cool clam affable and efficient way has upstaged both of them. Kane is now number ranked batsman ahead of Virat and Smith in the MRF Tyres ICC’s Men’s Test player rankings. This is a phenomenal achievement.
The Kiwi Skipper has been in prolific form off-late and etched his name in history as he became the fastest New Zealand batsman to register 7000 runs in Tests. Compatriot Ross Taylor, who has scored the most runs for the Blackcaps in Test, had reached the landmark of 7000 runs in 96 matches. Williamson, on the other hand, took just 83 games and surpassed former New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming and Taylor to become the fastest Kiwi batsman to reach 7000 Test runs. Fleming scored 7,172 runs for the Black Caps in 111 Test while Taylor has scored 7379 in 105 games respectively. Williamson now also holds the record for the most fifty-plus score (56) for the Blackcaps in Test cricket. Fleming, who played 111 Test for New Zealand had 55 fifty-plus scores.
His rich vein of form saw applause coming in from Indian batting great VVS Laxman. Laxman who is the mentor of IPL franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad from whom Williamson plays and has seen the Kiwi great from up-close wrote in a tweet, “Not at all surprised to see the consistency of Kane Williamson. Unbelievable work ethics and attention to detail while preparing for any match are the reasons behind his success. A true role model for any youngster to emulate.”
At SRH , Williamson has showed what a great team-man he is and how fantastically he has gelled in the unit and is happy playing under Aussie David Warner (SRH skipper). Thus silencing doubters who said that an Aussie and a Kiwi cannot work together. And even when Warner was not around due to the ban ( Sandpaper gate scandal in South Africa 2018) and hence was not allowed to play in IPL 2019, Williamson captained SRH astutely.
What makes the Kiwi great special is that he brings to the table the sense of calm assurance when he is batting whatever be the situation and in all formats. He goes about his game with precision and reads the match situation well – when to defend and attack . Rotating the strike beautifully , placing in the gaps, running hard between the wickets and not forgetting to punish the poor deliveries to fence and even the maximum with finesse . Watching him in full flow is sheer joy. It is batting masterclass and a sight to behold.
Moreover, the real reason why Kane has won fans world-wide because he plays the game they way it should be played – gentleman’s way thus making him a role model for youngsters. There is no expressive , or demonstrative body language and no hurling of abusive words to unsettle the opposition. The grace and humility he showed after losing the hearth-breaking ICC World Cup 2019 final to England at Lords moved all . It was sportsmanship at it’s very best. There cannot be better example this. It made many cricket lovers fans of not only of Kane Williamson but the whole Kiwi team too instantly.
At 30 , Kane Williamson has the age to go on to become one of the greats if not he has become already . Look at his career stats till now . It is astonishing and stuffs of a legend : Tests : 83 Runs : 7115 Highest : 251, Avg : 54.31 Hundreds : 24 50’s : 32 and has four double hundreds too under his belt. Showing that he can play long innings when it matters. In ODI’s : Matches : 151 , Runs : 6173 Highest : 148 Avg : 47.48 Hundreds : 13 50’s : 39 . These are fantastic numbers of one of the greats of the modern game.
Lastly, In New Zealand’s cricket history the late Martin Crowe was regarded as the country’s greatest batsman. Now this greatest attribute has been passed on from Crowe to Kane Williamson. And it is indeed a fitting reward.