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New Zealand's talisman

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Kane_Williamson_New_Zealand_cricketSome nations depend hugely on a single batsman to deliver results. New Zealand is one of these sides. Kane Williamson, the skipper of the Kiwis, has developed into one of the modern greats of the game, piling up the runs on a consistent basis irrespective of the venue and the format.

Coming in at Number 3, Williamson shows maturity and class with the bat. He scores run with ease and makes it a blissful sight for the viewers to watch him play. He radiates a serene confidence, punctuated by roars of approval from the spectators when he hits his next boundary or reaches his next milestone.

The ambidextrous batsman has been a part of the Blackcaps setup for the past 7 years. His journey started with a nine-ball duck in an ODI against India, but he was on the winning side, which mauled the opposition by a margin of 200 runs. He also picked up the wicket of Ravindra Jadeja in his three-over spell.

His Test debut was different altogether. Batting second against the same opposition, India, Williamson scored a magnificent 131 and formed a crucial 194-run partnership with Jesse Ryder, before going on to form another 86-run partnership with skipper Daniel Vettori to save his side from the brink. The match eventually ended in a draw and Williamson was New Zealand's hero.

Starting off with a couple of ducks in the ODI format takes a huge toll on the batsman's mind. But Williamson was an exception. The selectors trusted Williamson after failing in his debut series and selected him for the tour to Bangladesh. He repaid their trust back by scoring 108 in the first match of the tour but saw his side lose the match by a mere 9 runs.

Despite getting starts, Williamson celebrated his second century only a year after he scored his first one. His unbeaten 100 came off just 69 deliveries against Zimbabwe and surprisingly, the Kiwis lost the match by a wicket. Talk about efforts going down the drain.

Before getting his first half-century, Williamson already had a couple of centuries. His first half-century came against South Africa and yet again, he was on the losing side. His best knock came against South Africa, where he scored an unbeaten 145. And thankfully, New Zealand won the match by 27 runs. For a batsman who looks up to Sachin Tendulkar as his idol, personal landmarks don’t matter as much.

He wasn't in the greatest of form in the previous edition of the Champions Trophy, managing to score just a solitary half-century as New Zealand bowed out of the competition early. But he only got better. During India's tour to New Zealand, Williamson smashed five half-centuries in five matches and was a vital cog in New Zealand' 4-0 series victory.

With the 2015 World Cup in the Oceania, Australia and New Zealand were the favourites to win the World Cup. New Zealand played all their matches barring the finals at home grounds. Williamson was a vital cog and also sealed victory against Australia in a group stage thriller, with a six down to long-on. He managed to score 234 runs in the World Cup, scoring a couple of half-centuries. Unfortunately, he couldn't contribute much in the finals as New Zealand went on to lose the finals.

With McCullum departing, it was obvious that Williamson, who had been a stalwart for the Blackcaps, was made the skipper and was asked to lead the side. In 2015, he scored a staggering 1376 runs in just 27 matches, scoring 3 centuries and 9 half-centuries. England is a traditionally tough place for overseas batsmen to score, but Williamson managed to score 386 runs at an average of 77.2, which included a century and three half-centuries. Barring McCullum and Williamson, none of the other batsmen could manage to score big.

Picking up spin in the sub-continent tracks for an overseas batsman is no child's play. But Williamson made it look so and has 878 runs to his name at an average of 42. When New Zealand visited India last year, no one gave the Kiwis a chance. But Williamson led his team well. Though they lost the series 3-2, Williamson starred with the bat and gave the Indians a tough time. He is good with the bat in the shortest format of the game and is one of the very few batsmen to have scored over 1000 runs in the format.

Failure with the bat in the last three matches against South Africa prior to the Champions Trophy meant, South Africa won the series 3-2. Though the Kiwis boast some big names in their batting lineup, they are still dependent vastly on their skipper to come up with the goods. In the ongoing Champions Trophy, Williamson managed to score 244 runs, including a century against Australia which was rain-marred. He was the second highest run-scorer in the league stages of the competition, two runs behind Shikhar Dhawan. A surprise defeat to Bangladesh meant the Blackcaps are eliminated from the tournament despite playing well.

Williamson will be considered as the greatest ever New Zealand batsman if he continues to play at the same level. He is already being considered as the same by a few and no wonder, he is the 'Talisman' of the New Zealand side.

 

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