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  5. Kane Williamson declines central contract, resigns as New Zealand white-ball captain after T20 WC debacle

Kane Williamson declines central contract, resigns as New Zealand white-ball captain after T20 WC debacle

Unarguably one of the greatest New Zealand cricketers to play the game and captain the side, Kane Williamson has decided to let go of the annual central contract for the Blackcaps. Williamson, who relinquished as Test captain in 2022, has moved on as skipper in white-ball formats as well.

Edited By: Anshul Gupta @oyegupta_ New Delhi Updated on: June 19, 2024 7:42 IST
New Zealand great Kane Williamson has relinquished his
Image Source : GETTY New Zealand great Kane Williamson has relinquished his captaincy post after T20 World Cup debacle for the Black Caps

Kane Williamson, a New Zealand great for more than a decade, has decided to let go of central contract for the 2024-25 season in order to pursue overseas playing opportunities, especially in the month of January. Williamson, who led the Black Caps in 166 white-ball matches (91 ODIs and 75 T20Is), has also decided to move on as skipper in coloured clothing for New Zealand to prolong his international career. The move was the ripple effect of New Zealand's T20 World Cup debacle where the 2021 finalists were knocked out in the group stage itself.

"Helping push the team forward across the formats is something I’m very passionate about and something I want to keep contributing towards. However, pursuing an overseas opportunity during the New Zealand summer means I’m unable to accept a central contract offer," Williamson was quoted as saying.

New Zealand central contract requires players to commit to the national team as well as the domestic competition Super Smash, which runs in January every year. Hence, when international cricket will not be on at the start of the next year, Williamson could be seen plying his trade in either of the three T20 leagues earmarked for the January window - Big Bash League, SA20 and International League T20.

“Playing for New Zealand is something I treasure, and my desire to give back to the team remains undiminished. My life outside cricket has changed however - spending more time with my family and enjoying experiences with them at home or abroad is something that’s even more important to me," Williamson added.

Williamson stressed that forgoing a central contract shouldn't be interpreted as a loss of interest in international cricket as the 33-year-old has left the door open for acceptance of the contract in future. 

The letting go of the central contract means that Williamson could go the Trent Boult way, except for Test cricket as the NZC release mentioned that the former Test captain is likely to be available for New Zealand in potentially all the right Test matches before Christmas and then the Champions Trophy in February-March next year.

Williamson, who surrendered Test captaincy in 2022, led New Zealand in 166 white-ball games where the Black Caps won 46 ODIs and 39 T20Is under him. It still may not be the end of Williamson in international cricket but is likely to be the beginning of it.

"This is a good way to help keep Kane in the international game so that he continues to play a major role for the BLACKCAPS – both now and in the years to come,” said NZC CEO Scott Weenink. "We have very little international cricket in New Zealand through January and outside that period he’s still available for the BLACKCAPS."

Weenink mentioned that New Zealand Cricket always gives preference to the centrally contracted player with respect to team selection but the board was ready to make an exception for their greatest-ever batter as and when he indicated his availability.

The NZC release also stated that pacer Lockie Ferguson is also contemplating not accepting the central contract when the process begins, likely next month.

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