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Social media surprised as Kane Williamson quits Test captaincy, Tim Southee to replace

Kane Williamson has stepped down as the Test skipper of the New Zealand side, leaving social media in a shock. Meanwhile, Tim Southee has been announced as his replacement.

Social media surprised as Kane Williamson quits Test captaincy, Tim Southee to replace-ayh
First Published Dec 15, 2022, 11:14 AM IST

Kane Williamson, who led New Zealand to the ICC World Test Championship 2021-23 conquest in its inaugural edition, stepped down as captain from the most extended format, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) announced on Thursday. Veteran pacer Tim Southee has been named his replacement in its WTC title defence. Williamson will continue to captain the side in the white-ball format, focusing on the ICC World Cup 2023 and ICC T20 World Cup 2024. Wicketkeeper-opener Tom Latham has been assigned as its vice-captain.

"Captaining the Black Caps in Test cricket has been an extraordinary honour. For me, Test cricket is the pinnacle of the game, and I've enjoyed the challenges of leading the side in the format," said Williamson, who had taken over the role in 2016 from Brendon McCullum. Statistically, Williamson has been the best Test skipper in New Zealand's history, winning 22 of 40 games at the helm, eight draws, and just ten collapses.

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Under his leadership, New Zealand reached the pinnacle of the Test rankings before materialising as the champion of WTC, conquering India in the Final in June last year. On his judgment, Williamson conveyed: "Captaincy comes with an increased workload on and off the field. And, at this career stage, 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."

Williamson enunciated that Southee and Latham would have him as a reference of support throughout his term. "I'm excited to support Tim as captain and Tom as vice-captain. Having played with both of them for most of my career, I'm confident they'll do a great job," he articulated. Southee, who has played 346 internationals and has led the Twenty20 (T20) side on 22 occurrences, will become New Zealand's 31st Test skipper, leading the side during this month's Test tour to Pakistan.

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Social media surprised as Kane Williamson quits Test captaincy, Tim Southee to replace-ayh

The opening Test begins on Boxing Day in Karachi. "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 excited to lead the team in this format. Kane's been an outstanding Test captain, and I'm looking forward to working with Gary on how we can build on that," Southee said.

Delivering his honour to Williamson, New Zealand head coach Gary Stead stated: "Kane's guided the Test team through an immensely successful period which is a testament to his ability to bring people together and work towards a common goal. "He's undoubtedly led from the front with his performances, which was very much the case during our push to win the World Test Championship."

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"The Test team has continued to evolve and develop during his time, and we've been able to introduce new players and see them thrive almost instantly, is a credit to Kane and his leadership. We hope we can continue to see the best of Kane Williamson for longer on the international stage by lessening his workload, and we know he will remain a key leader in this group," added Stead.

Sead conveyed that the determination to establish Southee as skipper came down to the directive the Test team wanted to run. "Tim's a quality leader with a good cricket brain. 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 bring new ideas and fresh thinking," he concluded.

(With inputs from PTI)

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