I am attracted to India because of the country's love for cricket, says Kane Williamson
New Zealand captain and Sunrisers Hyderabad's Kane Williamson spoke exclusively to Sportskeeda about the current IPL campaign.
With Hyderabad developing into India’s new sports hub, there has been a massive fan following in sports such as badminton, football and cricket in the city. From the likes of Mohammad Azharuddin, VVS Laxman and Mithali Raj, the City of Nawab has now gracefully opened its arms to overseas cricketers with love and respect.
Sunrisers Hyderabad’s victory in the 2016 Indian Premier League (IPL) strengthened cricket’s association with the city and that led to a near full-house in the opening match of IPL 2017.
With the support of their fans, the Sunrisers have done pretty well for themselves this season as they currently sit in the playoff spots.
Ahead of their crucial group match against Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS), SRH captain David Warner, accompanied by Kane Williamson, graced ASICS, one of Cricket Australia’s sponsors, with their presence on Friday. Although they were initially welcomed by only a handful of journalists, a huge crowd of SRH fans soon gathered outside the store.
When asked what reminded him of India, Warner, who later on in the day had to fight off the crowd that surrounded him, sarcastically answered, “people like taking selfies”. On the other hand, Williamson, who was a more low-profile celebrity in the room, said the love of cricket in the country attracts him.
Williamson had to wait for eight matches before he finally got to feature in the playing XI. However, the wait was nothing but a learning experience for the young New Zealander and in his first match, he scored a brilliant 89.
“Yeah, that [the wait] was a challenge. Obviously, when you play a little bit more, you get more familiar with the surroundings. But at the same time, it’s a good experience, sitting on the sidelines watching the team perform well. And just try and contribute to the side in a different way. But it’s nice to get some opportunities.”
The Kiwi’s presence has strengthened the SRH top order and his form is one of the reasons SRH currently sit in the top four on the points table. Sunrisers have remained unbeaten at home thus far, but have lost four out of their five away matches.
Prior to the crucial fixture against RPS, the side that beat the defending champions earlier in the tournament, the smiling assassin spoke to Sportskeeda regarding his side’s current mini-crisis.
“We have another two games at home, the next being against Pune on Saturday. We need to be prepared to put up a strong performance because they are playing very good cricket right now. We certainly want to turn things around and win a lot more away from home, but you see it’s never easy.
“We have played good cricket away, but things have not fallen into place for us so far. Like the last game in Delhi, we just couldn’t cross the line. So, I suppose you just accept it and move on. Quickly take the good bits and play the next game with a fresher perspective,” the Kiwi added.
When asked if SRH would make a change or two in the playing XI for Saturday’s game, he said, “Not sure about the playing XI as of now.”
Even though SRH have had a roller coaster ride until now in IPL 2017, they have never lost faith at any point. “The dressing room and its culture are very good. The guys understand that you don’t stick to a result in IPL and T20 cricket as there will be many losses. It is important to bounce back from those and we have done that pretty well this year and have always given our best on the field,” the Kiwi added.
With Warner being Australia’s vice-captain and Williamson New Zealand’s captain, the SRH side will never lack a leader, particularly during a crisis.
When asked if Warner took his help while leading the side, Williamson, being as humble as ever, said, “Dave has done a great job by captaining the side, he has done that for a few years now and the team has been very successful under him. Before a match, we sit down for a chat; he takes whatever he wants and makes his own decisions and we are all very supportive of that. The culture at SRH is really commendable.”
The 26-year-old has never been shy about expressing his admiration for the captain. When asked which player, according to him, has stood out for SRH so far in the tenth edition of the IPL, Williamson promptly replied, “The captain!”
”Last year he was brilliant and this year again, he has been fantastic. Even Bhuvneshwar Kumar has come up with super performances, especially his death bowling. It’s one of the best in the IPL. But one of the strengths of the side is that a number of players have contributed, which I think is very important in terms of ending up in the finals," he signed off.