Kane Williamson steps down as New Zealand's Test captain; Tim Southee replaces him

Kane Williamson steps down as New Zealands Test captain; Tim Southee replaces him

  • Kane Williamson captained New Zealand in 40 Tests
  • He first took over the role in 2016
  • Tom Latham was named Tim Southee's deputy

Kane Williamson has stepped down as New Zealand's Test captain and Tim Southee has been named his successor.

Williamson will continue to lead the BlackCaps in the One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) and has confirmed that he wants to play all formats regularly.

"Williamson will continue to lead the BLACKCAPS in ODI and T20I cricket and has reiterated his desire to play all three formats internationally. Canterbury opener Tom Latham has been confirmed as Test vice-captain, after previously leading the side in Williamson's absence," read New Zealand Cricket's statement.

Southee, who has 346 internationals to his name and has led the T20I side on 22 occasions, will become New Zealand's 31st Test captain when he leads the team on this month's Test tour to Pakistan.

Williamson, who replaced Brendon McCullum as New Zealand's Test captain in 2016, captained the Test side on 40occasions (22 wins, 8 draws, 10 losses).

Leading New Zealand to the World Test Championship (WTC) title last year, Williamson said that keeping in mind the two limited-overs World Cups coming up in the next two years, he thought giving up responsibility from the longest format was a better choice.

"Captaining the BLACKCAPS in Test cricket has been an incredibly special honour. For me, Test cricket is the pinnacle of the game and I've enjoyed the challenges of leading the side in the format. Captaincy comes with an increased workload on and off the field and at this stage of my career I feel 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. 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. Playing for the BLACKCAPS and contributing in all three formats is my number one priority and I'm looking forward to the cricket we have ahead," said Williamson in a statement.

While Southee's captaincy so far had been restricted to just white-ball formats and in fact, Latham, who is going to the pacer's deputy, had led New Zealand in nine Tests, winning four and losing five. He most recently captained New Zealand to 1-1 draws in home series against Bangladesh and South Africa, and a defeat in the second Test against England at Trent Bridge.

Southee was picked over Latham as New Zealand's new Test captain because of the fast bowler's "experience" and that he was the "right for our environment now," according to coach Gary Stead.

"Look, both are great leaders in our unit and I guess, for us, it's about trying to share the responsibilities around a little bit more. Tim was the guy that we felt was right for our environment now.

"That's taking nothing away from Tom Latham, he's been outstanding in doing that interim job for us, and I'm sure that Tom will take a big place within our team in terms of leadership and possibly the captaincy in some formats if these guys aren't available," Stead said at a press conference in Lincoln.

When Stead was asked if the decision was close between Southee and Latham, the coach replied: "Well, it's not necessarily about close calls ā€¦ We've got great leaders and two of them are here, and Tom is another one, and there's others in our team as well. I guess we just discussed all the different options and put them out there. In the end, we felt Tim's experience, and I guess a little bit of a feeling of a bowling position as well is slightly different."

New Zealand's upcoming series is an away one in Pakistan, where the two sides will lock horns in two Tests and three ODIs. The tour will kick-start with the five-day format, with the first Test is set to be the Boxing Day fixture on Dec. 26 in Karachi. The second Test will be played in Multan, while all the three ODIs will be played at Karachi's National Stadium.

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