Australia vs New Zealand 2019-20: Ricky Ponting talks about improvement in Kane Williamson's batting; compares him to Steven Smith
Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting believes Kane Williamson has improved leaps and bounds in Test cricket in recent years. Ponting also claimed that he didn't believe Williamson was a gifted batsman when he first started his international journey in Test cricket.
Williamson toured Australia aged 21 and was caught twice by Ponting himself in the slip cordon. Australia took full advantage of Williamson’s problems with deliveries pitched outside the off-stump and ensured he ended the series averaging only 18.
Ponting had a conversation with Brendon McCullum at the time and admitted he wasn’t too impressed with Williamson’s technique after identifying quite a few chinks in his armor. Speaking to cricket.com.au, he said:
“Brendon McCullum said to me then ‘this kid is going to be one of the best players in the world’... And I thought ‘really?’. He was pretty loose outside off stump and was going pretty hard at the ball.”
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However, Ponting believes there is a stark difference between the Williamson of old and the one consistently breaking records at the moment.
“When you see him now and what he’s developed into, he plays the ball later than anybody, he makes big runs, he makes runs consistently and he’s been talked about as a being one of the best players in the world for the last four or five years.
“And he’s their captain, so he’s a very important player for them.”
Ponting also acknowledged the fact that Williamson's worked hard on his technique, as well as his approach towards T20 cricket. Comparing his technique to Steven Smith, Ponting said:
“I’ve seen him turn himself from an ordinary T20 player into a very good T20 player, and that’s not an easy thing to do.”
“He’s a bit like Smithy (in Test cricket); he’s very regimented in the way he plays, he plays the ball late, he doesn’t get a big stride at the ball. But he’s just really hard to get out so I’m looking forward to the battle between him and our quicks.”
Williamson has certainly developed into one of the finest Test batters in the world and currently averages 52.68 in Test cricket. He also recently scored his 21st Test century against England and will be looking to add to his tally when New Zealand make the short trip to Australia for a three-Test series.
The first will be a day-night fixture in Perth starting December 12 and will be followed by the Boxing Day Test at the MCG. The last game of the series will be held in Sydney from January 3, 2020.
Tim Paine (captain), Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Joe Burns, Pat Cummins (vice-captain), Josh Hazelwood, Travis Head (vice-captain), Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson.