New Zealand captain Kane Williamson was ranked the No.1 batsman in Test cricket as 2020 ended and the new year began. Meanwhile, his team is No.3 on the ICC World Test Championship points table. With the 2nd Test against Pakistan starting on January 3, with New Zealand 1-0 ahead in the series, Williamson’s team will have a chance to top the WTC table.
However, Williamson has stated that the team’s focus will not be on winning a particular Test match but to be in any game right from the start. Williamson, who made a hundred on Test debut in Ahmedabad in 2010, is happy to be a core part of the team that has found success in the longest format over the years.
“Every game you play, every test you play, any opportunity to win a Test you want to take, but to get into those positions naturally there is just so much hard work, from the first period of play to perhaps late in the match, so for us that’s the focus,” Williamson said on the eve of the Christchurch Test.
“I suppose when you start out as a young player, you want to find your feet and get an understanding for the group that you’re in. I guess anybody that gets an opportunity to play one Test for their country or any format perhaps.I think there’s something special about Test [cricket] and wearing that baggy is such an amazing thing and one that you certainly never assume. Whenever that time comes or if that time comes, it’s just a complete surprise and a fantastic moment to perhaps fast-forward to a number of years and the focus changes from first Test to being involved in a group, a fairly consistent group for such a number of years. And trying to be part of moving that team forward is a different focus and really enjoyable challenge to be involved in,” he added.
With the 101-run victory against Pakistan in the 1st Test, New Zealand continued their unbeaten streak of 16 home Tests since 2017. While captain Williamson is not swayed by the dream run by the team, he has hailed the consistency of the players who have focussed on their simple values.
“Looking back, we were competitive at times, but certainly not all the time. And the team has come a long way in terms of bringing an element of consistency mainly to their behaviours, which I think has been really important, simple values which are important to our group and to Kiwis, simple things we want to commit to day-in day-out,” he added.
“That doesn’t always reflect in the performance being perfect – very rarely is it perfect – but certainly it can help a team grow, and it has contributed to the team moving in that direction. But, here we are now on the eve of another game, where anything can happen. It’s about peeling it back and focus on what’s important to the group and keep looking at the bigger picture and how we can hopefully continue to trend in the right direction, facing the challenges that we continue to face.”
Kane Williamson was handed over the reins of captaincy by Brendon McCullum who retired in 2016. Apart from their Test run, the team has played two back to back World Cup finals. These achievements have inspired a lot of fans to follow cricket more closely in New Zealand, a nation that primarily follow rugby among sports.
“Yeah, I hope they’re enjoying it watching and those sort of things. For us, it’s important we play to the best of our ability as much as we can. This game that we play is fickle and doesn’t always happen like that and winning Test matches are very tough. We certainly respect that and we know how challenging it is against any international opposition. So, we want to keep starting again and commit to what’s important to our group and uphold the behaviours that are important to the team. And we do hope that connects with the Kiwi public.”