3 reasons why Kane Williamson turning down New Zealand central contract is the right move

New Zealand v Papua New Guinea - ICC Men
New Zealand v Papua New Guinea - ICC Men's T20 Cricket World Cup West Indies & USA 2024

Kane Williamson has decided to decline a New Zealand Cricket (NZC) central contract for the 2024-25 season. He also decided to relinquish his white-ball captaincy after the Blackcaps' early exit from T20 World Cup and extend his international career. Last year, he also stepped down from Test captaincy and passed on the baton to Tim Southee.

The 33-year-old intends to pursue opportunities in franchise leagues during the summer, during which the Kiwi team is scheduled to play only eight Tests, which is Williamson's preferred format. Moreover, the veteran batter wants to spend more time with his family, but remains committed to playing for the country in key tournaments.

Here's what Williamson said in a NZC release:

"Helping push the team forward across the formats is something I'm very passionate about and something I want to keep contributing towards. However, pursuing an overseas opportunity during the New Zealand summer means I'm unable to accept a central contract offer."

On that note, let's take a look at why Kane Williamson dropping out of New Zealand's central contract is the right move.

#1 Kane Williamson has had a mediocre 2024

The prolific batter has featured in six T20Is and two Tests in 2024, and has accrued inconsistent performances. He started well by scoring 83 runs in two T20Is against Pakistan.

However, Kane Williamson could only return with scores of 9 and 1 in T20 World Cup games against Afghanistan and West Indies, respectively. Along with low scores, his way of dismissals in crunch situations was surprising to the cricket fraternity and fans.

Williamson's scores in Test innings against Australia were read as, 0,9, 17 and 51, which accounts to only 77 runs in four innings. His failure played a part in Australia securing a 2-0 whitewash against the Blackcaps.

He also featured in two games of IPL 2024 for the Gujarat Titans, garnering just 27 runs in two innings, and was dropped from the playing XI as well.

#2 Trouble with injuries

Since the past year, Kane Williamson has missed much cricket action due to his susceptility to various injuries.

In the opening game of IPL 2023, Williamson ruptured his ACL while playing for the Titans. As a result, he was ruled out of the remainder of the tournmanent and had to undergo surgery.

Williamson made a return to the cricket field after seven months in a T20 World Cup game against Bangladesh in October, after missing the Blackcaps' first two games. However, he sustained a thumb injury in this fixture and had to sit out for the next four games.

Earlier this year, the right-handed batter featured in the first two T20Is against Pakistan, but then missed the rest of the three games due to a hamstring injury.

Certainly, the consistent injury concerns have kept Williamson at bay during key tournaments, which has affected the team's combinations and plans.

#3 Gives chance for grooming a new leader

Kane Williamson has been leading the New Zealand white-ball teams since 2012 and donned the leadership hat in the longest format since 2016. Under his captaincy, the Kiwi team had a stellar record in all the formats. They lifted the World Test Championship 2021, reached the final of the ODI World Cup 2019 and emerged as the runner-up in T20 World Cup 2021.

However, due to the disappointing form and injury concerns of Williamson, it's the right time for a new captain to take over the side. Looking ahead, at the Champions Trophy 2025 and T20 World Cup 2016, the Kiwi team needs rebuilding in the team's combination (also with Boult's departure).

Left-handed wicket-keeper Tom Latham is likely to be a successor to Williamson in the white-ball format, and will look to inculcate a fresh mindset, with cricketers involving a novel approach in accordance with new-age innovation.

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Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee
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