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Simon Doull: Kane Williamson should step down as New Zealand Test captain

by Wisden Staff 5 minute read

Simon Doull believes Kane Williamson should step down as New Zealand’s Test captain in a bid to prolong his career.

Williamson is New Zealand’s captain in all formats but has missed several Tests since the start of last year due to an elbow injury. He was unavailable for the second Test against England at Trent Bridge after testing positive for Covid-19 on the eve of the match. In 2021, Williamson led New Zealand to triumph in the World Test Championship final and a runners-up finish in the T20 World Cup.

Williamson has struggled for runs in recent months. In the 2022 IPL, he amassed 216 runs at an average of 19.63 for Sunrisers Hyderabad, while striking at less than a run a ball. In the first Test against England at Lord’s, he put up scores of 2 and 15.

TV commentator Doull – who played 32 Tests for New Zealand from 1992 to 2000 – told the Guardian: “I just don’t know about the longevity of Kane Williamson the captain.

“He is without doubt the best player we’ve ever produced outside of Sir Richard Hadlee. He is world class and I’d love him to be just the best player we’ve ever seen and if that means giving up the Test captaincy to prolong his career, I think he should.

“He’s never been a lover of doing the media – he’s just not that guy – he’s a real cricket guy, he loves the game, studies the game. I just don’t know that he can sustain all three formats. I would rather he was just New Zealand’s one-day and T20 captain.”

Tom Latham has led New Zealand when Williamson has been absent over the last 18 months, and Doull said the left-handed opener would be “a really worthy replacement”.

“When you’ve got a really worthy replacement, and Tom Latham is, I think that is the easiest time to transition and walk away from it. New Zealand don’t play another Test until the autumn [after the third Test at Headingley], so it is not a bad time after the Leeds Test to do it [for Williamson to step down].

“It’s not because I think Kane’s been a bad captain, I think he’s been a great captain – to take New Zealand to the World Test championship was incredible.”

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