New Zealand captain Kane Williamson on Sunday spoke about the reasons behind his team's consistent success in International Cricket Council (ICC) tournaments across all formats. He said the Kiwis focus a lot on "playing for each other," adding that they have a lot of willing and talented players who make up for the lack of so-called 'superstars'.
Williamson's comments came in an interview with Boria Majumdar on his show "Backstage with Boria". Since taking over the captaincy in 2016, the 31-year-old has led New Zealand to a World Test Championship title, finals of the 2019 ODI World Cup, the 2022 T20 World Cup and the semi-finals of the 2016 T20 World Cup.
He was asked to explain how New Zealand, despite not having a lot of global 'superstars' and franchise-cricket heroes like other teams, always seemed to perform better as a group. Williamson replied:
"Look, I can't compare to any other teams and we are very much focused on our group and our people. But we are fully aware the talent on other sides is huge and all other teams. I suppose that's one of our challenges, we really put a lot of effort into playing for each other and as a team. And as you mentioned, we don't have the superstars and we can try as hard as we can to find them somewhere but we've got a lot of really willing, really talented players."
"Every team, you know, every team has that and every team goes through transitional players and transitional support staff and you have all these things that continue to happen. And our group, we are no different in that respect but we do put a lot of effort into working at things as a collective and giving to each other as much as we can and go out there and enjoy what we do. And I'd like to think that the players on this side do take, you know, a lot of pleasure in being a part of the group and being a part of trying to achieve something collectively."
Williamson has been a key figure behind this success. Apart from being a respected, calm, and tactically sound leader, the right-handed batter has also scored over 8000 runs across formats as the captain with brilliant averages of 59.91 and 49.23 in Tests and ODIs respectively.
"The large picture still exists" - Kane Williamson
While he doesn't take his team's past achievements lightly, Williamson is also mindful of the big picture, which involves a continuation of efforts in representing his country. He concluded:
"It's nice when things go your way and you get some fruits. It was nice to win the Test Championship and make a few finals but the goal and the challenge and the large picture still exists and there's still a lot of energy. The day something stops, the day something starts, you know, it just continues. The team loves playing and representing their country and it's a special thing to be a part of."
The Kiwis are currently involved in a two-Test series against South Africa at home. They defeated the visitors by an innings and 276 runs in the first match. The second Test will start on February 25 at the Hagley Oval.