New Zealand in West Indies 2012 July 4, 2012

Williamson ready for captaincy challenge

ESPNcricinfo staff
20

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."

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  • EnglishCricket on July 5, 2012, 15:48 GMT

    Though New Zealand Cricket has become much weaker compared to the Fleming, Cairns era, I must say this young Williamson is a clear talent and one for the future. Saw some highlights of him and was pretty impressed to how he bats especially when he played against South Africa.

  • mukesh_LOVE.cricket on July 5, 2012, 9:50 GMT

    Kane williamson is one of the most promising upcoming talent in the world cricket itself, he would be better off by working on his own game rather than being burdened with captaincy , anyway good luck to him , he is a class act

  • HadleeCrowe on July 5, 2012, 5:13 GMT

    Why did Baz need a rest??????????? NZ havent played international cricket since march!!!!!!! IPL finished a month ago????

  • FatBoysCanBat on July 5, 2012, 4:30 GMT

    Whilst I believe he is the future leader of New Zealand I don't think his time is now. In saying that he will learn from this experience, hopefully his batting won't suffer because of it.

  • cricketWI on July 4, 2012, 16:26 GMT

    It is unfortunate that so early into the tour of the WI that NZ has injury concerns. Most people may argue- including me- that WI should win the first few ODIs quite comfortably, but seeing how WI have played for the past few years (losing games they should've definitely won), one cannot just predict that WI will just walk away with the ODI series easily. From looking at the T20s WI had looked in total control of the games, but however ODI cricket is a bit longer and so much can happen.

  • dummy4fb on July 4, 2012, 13:06 GMT

    WI can learn from this move. Why wait for s/thing to happen & then there is a mad scramble to find a replacement captain. Let's inject some imagination in our approach. Let's appoint DJ Bravo as capt. for the last 3 ODI matches. My reasons for trying him now r as foll. 1. It's a home series. 2. It's a relatively weak Kiwi side. 3. His confidence is high, he has been performing well over the past months. Food for thought.

  • dummy4fb on July 4, 2012, 12:55 GMT

    Yes he is given the captaincy because Taylor is injured. But why not? He has a decent ODI avg, better that quite a few WI 'STARS', for starters. And it is a good opportunity to make a start agst the#7 side in ODI cricket. And if I may say WI r not a good ODI side(check record). So go for it YOUTH.

  • Meety on July 4, 2012, 12:32 GMT

    Kane is a champ & should be the backbone of the NZ team for maybe up to 20 yrs into the future - but to make him captain noe courts disaster. They say diamonds are made under pressure - but I think the risk to NZ cricket is too high!

  • AKS286 on July 4, 2012, 12:04 GMT

    can anyone tell me why kiwi players are always injured? injury is the history of NZ team.

  • gopakumar85 on July 4, 2012, 11:39 GMT

    Well Kiwis has always taken chance with the young boys. example Fleming then Daniel and more often than not it has paid off for them. I see Williamson as the right person to take the responsibility and it would be refreshing to see what does this young boy has in store to the world as captain.. watch out the rest of the world.

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