ICC Champions Trophy 2017: Kane Williamson speaks about New Zealand's plans
What’s the story?
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, who is currently taking part in IPL 2017 for Sunrisers Hyderabad, spoke about New Zealand’s plans for the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy 2017 and also revealed which player he’d pick to bat for his life.
Speaking exclusively to Sportskeeda, Kane Williamson also revealed a surprising choice when asked about the player that he would want to bat for his life. Instead of legendary Kiwi cricketers such as Stephen Fleming or Martin Crowe, the 26-year-old said:" BJ WATLING”.
With the Champions Trophy less than three weeks away, the New Zealand captain believed that the conditions on offer in England will suit the batsmen and that teams will need to get going from the outset.
"I have been fortunate to have played cricket in England. Also, when we have played England in England, often the ODI surfaces have been very good. It's important that you go there and play with positivity and freedom. In such a short tournament, when there is not too much room for conservative cricket, you do need to try and bring your 'A' game at the start because there is not much warming in such a competition.
“A number of guys are playing cricket. We have a pre-tour of Ireland, where we play Ireland and Bangladesh, so that would also be important for the Champions Trophy," he added.
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Williamson has been in great form for the reigning IPL champions SRH in the tenth edition of the IPL, where he has scored 232 runs in six matches at an average of nearly 50 and strike rate of over 160 with two fifties to his name.
New Zealand have a balanced squad going into the Champions Trophy but it is his comments surrounding BJ Watling that is likely to dominate the headlines. Watling, who is New Zealand's first-choice wicketkeeper in Tests has only played 32 limited-overs games for the Blackcaps in his career. In his 52 Tests, the 31-year-old keeper has scored 2,702 runs at an average of 38 with six hundreds and 13 fifties to his name.
Williamson is currently taking part in the IPL while New Zealand take on Ireland and Bangladesh in a tri-series in Ireland that begins on May 12 and concludes on May 24. They then play two warm-up matches against India (May 28) and Sri Lanka (May 30) following which they will take part in the Champions Trophy where they begin their campaign against Australia on June 2.
While there is no doubt that Watling is one of the finest wicketkeeper batsmen in Tests currently, Williamson’s pick is certainly surprising. The 31-year-old is one of the most consistent batsmen in the Tests and has shown remarkable grit and resilience in batting with the tail, which hasn’t gone unnoticed by his captain.