Williamson ready for captaincy challenge
Kane Williamson believes he will be much better prepared to captain New Zealand in the opening one-day international against West Indies after being thrust into the role at short notice for the second T20 on Sunday. Williamson is confident New Zealand can bounce back from being soundly beaten 2-0 in the T20s in Florida, despite ongoing injury concerns including the absence of their leader Ross Taylor.
Williamson is set to become New Zealand's youngest ODI captain when he leads the side in the first match in Jamaica on Thursday, but he doesn't expect his reign to last long. Brendon McCullum, who was named in the Test squad but was originally to have been rested for the one-dayers, will join the group early and could take over the captaincy mid-way through the series.
"He's obviously been the vice-captain in the Test team when he was there and no doubt for the one-dayers when he's around, so I'd imagine it would be up until that time," Williamson told reporters on Tuesday of his captaincy prospects. Until then, Williamson, 21, will be in charge, and he has some work ahead of him to steer the side in the right direction after their T20 losses.
Williamson was handed the leadership after Taylor injured his shoulder during Saturday's first T20 and while he didn't have much time to get used to the idea, he has now had a few days to prepare for the ODIs. Not that Williamson is a captaincy novice, having at times led Gloucestershire in county cricket.
"It was a shame obviously to lose in the fashion we did in the first game but I certainly enjoyed captaining that game and felt reasonably comfortable with the lads in the team and leading them in that way," Williamson said. "It is nice to have a few more days of preparation for this next game and hopefully things will be a little smoother throughout the park and all the lads will know their roles etc. It's obviously a slightly longer format so it won't be as intense."
Williamson will be playing just his 25th ODI and he will not only become his country's youngest ODI captain - Stephen Fleming was 23 when he first led the side - but also the fourth-youngest in one-day international history. Only Bangladesh's Rajin Saleh and the Zimbabweans Tatenda Taibu and Prosper Utseya were younger when they first took charge in an ODI.
Despite New Zealand's loss on Sunday, Williamson's leadership impressed Taylor, who faces an indefinite period on the sidelines. Taylor said he was confident the team would rally behind Williamson in the early part of the ODI series.
"He was obviously very nervous and he only had a day to prepare," Taylor told reporters after Sunday's game. "His bowling changes were very good and he went with his gut which is quite often what you have to do. He's going to do the job for a few more games yet and he showed promising signs and the team got in behind him."