Kane Williamson to miss second West Indies Test, Tom Latham to lead
Williamson will be with his partner Sarah for the birth of their first child
Kane Williamson will miss the second Test against West Indies, starting tomorrow, to be with his partner Sarah Raheem in Tauranga for the birth of their first child. Will Young, who made his debut in the first Test, will slot in at No. 3, while Tom Latham will take over as the captain.
"It's a decision we have come to around, I guess, the best decision for him [Williamson] and Sarah, and also for our team long-term, and in terms of him being in a good place to be with Sarah as well," Gary Stead, the New Zealand head coach, said in a New Zealand Cricket video statement. "Young will come in and bat three, it's a logical replacement that he just slips into that position. Will's played there a lot, so, yeah, it's a natural replacement.
"Tom Latham will take over as captain. He has been Test captain before in the past for us, and he's got a calm head on his shoulders, and I know with a lot of other leaders in our team that he will lean on them for their support as well."
Latham has led New Zealand in one Test, earlier this year against Australia in Sydney when Williamson was indisposed. New Zealand lost the game by 279 runs.
Till this morning, though, the team was expecting Williamson, who was Player of the Match in the first Test for a career-best 251, to be in their XI, with an NZC statement saying, "Coach Gary Stead has spoken with the captain and is confident he will be available to play in the second Test starting at the Basin Reserve on Friday".
That Williamson would miss some cricket this month was known for some time, with NZC having granted him paternity leave. Speaking a day after New Zealand wrapped up an innings-and-134-run win over West Indies in the first of their two Tests, Stead had said, "Worst case scenario, Kane misses some matches. As a dad, as a parent, you only get that opportunity once in your life to be there for your (first) child's birth and I know that it's important for Kane too. At the end of the day, we play cricket, and other things are much more important. And that is much more important."
After the series against West Indies, which ends with the upcoming Test, New Zealand will host Pakistan for three T20Is and two Tests from December 18.