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Kane Williamson steps down as New Zealand Test captain

Tim Southee will lead side in Pakistan, Williamson to remain white-ball skipper

Kane Williamson leads his side off the field at stumps, World Test Championship (WTC) final, 5th day, Southampton, June 22, 2021

Kane Williamson led New Zealand in 40 Test matches  •  Alex Davidson/Getty Images

Kane Williamson has stepped down as New Zealand's Test captain after six years in charge and will be replaced by Tim Southee for the upcoming tour of Pakistan.
Williamson, who led New Zealand to victory in the inaugural World Test Championship final against India at the Ageas Bowl in 2021, will continue as ODI and T20I captain and also reiterated his desire to keep playing all three formats.
"Captaining the BLACKCAPS in Test cricket has been an incredibly special honour," Williamson said. "For me, Test cricket is the pinnacle of the game and I've enjoyed the challenges of leading the side in the format.
"Captaincy comes with an increased workload on and off the field and at this stage of my career I feel the time is right for this decision. After discussions with NZC, we felt that continuing to captain the white-ball formats was preferable with two World Cups in the next two years."
After taking over from Brendon McCullum in 2016, Williamson led New Zealand in 40 Tests: winning 22, losing ten and drawing eight games. He averaged 57 and scored 11 hundreds as captain, both of which are records for New Zealand. He now hands over the leadership to Southee, who will become New Zealand's 31st Test captain when they play the first Test against Pakistan in Karachi on December 26.
"I'm excited to support Tim as captain and Tom [Latham] as vice-captain," Williamson said. "Having played with both of them for most of my career, I'm confident they'll do a great job. Playing for the BLACKCAPS and contributing in all three formats is my number one priority and I'm looking forward to the cricket we have ahead."
Southee, who has previously captained in 22 T20Is and one ODI, said: "It's been a surreal few days and it's just a massive honour to be appointed as Test captain. I love Test cricket, it's the ultimate challenge and I'm really excited by the opportunity to lead the team in this format. Kane's been an outstanding Test captain and I'm looking forward to working with [coach] Gary [Stead] on how we can build on that."
New Zealand coach Gary Stead hailed Williamson's leadership and said that Southee would bring in a fresh perspective as a bowler-captain. "Kane's guided the Test team through an immensely successful period which is testament to his ability to bring people together and work towards a common goal.
"He's certainly led from the front with his own performances and that was very much the case during our push to win the World Test Championship. We hope by lessening his workload we can continue to see the best of Kane Williamson for longer on the international stage, and we know he will remain a key leader in this group.
"Tim's a quality leader with a good cricket brain," Stead said. "We've seen his captaincy skills on display with the T20 side and I'm sure he'll continue to bring an aggressive style, whilst still maintaining the core fundamentals of how this BLACKCAPS team operates in the Test arena. He will also come from a slightly different perspective in being a bowler which I'm sure will also bring with it new ideas and fresh thinking."