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Kane Williamson steps down as New Zealand captain after T20 World Cup debacle

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Right-handed experienced batter Kane Williamson shook the cricket fraternity on Wednesday as he stepped down as New Zealand’s white-ball captain following the team’s poor run in the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024.

Besides relinquishing captaincy, Williamson also declined New Zealand’s central contract in “an effort to prolong his international career”.

The announcement came a day after the conclusion of New Zealand’s T20 World Cup 2024 campaign, where they were eliminated in the group stages for the first time since 2014.

The 2021 finalists suffered gut-wrenching defeats against the West Indies and Afghanistan, the two teams that advanced to Super Eight from Group C.

Meanwhile, Kane Williamson reiterated his dedication to represent New Zealand at the international level and expressed his willingness to participate in eight World Test Championship (WTC) matches in the coming months and the ICC Champions Trophy in Pakistan next year.

Williamson, however, shared that he is open to exploring the possibility of accepting New Zealand central contract in future.

“Helping push the team forward across the formats is something I’m very passionate about and something I want to keep contributing towards,” Kane said

“However, pursuing an overseas opportunity during the New Zealand summer means I’m unable to accept a central contract offer.

“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.”

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New Zealand Cricket (NZC) CEO Scott Weenink responded to Kane Williamson’s decision and stated that the experienced cricketer deserved the chance to take a break.

“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 Mr. Weenink.

“We have very little international cricket in New Zealand through January and outside that period he’s still available for the BLACKCAPS.

“NZC has a strong preference to select centrally contracted players for the BLACKCAPS, however we’re happy to make an exception for our greatest ever batter – especially as he remains so committed to the team.

“I know it sounds a bit counterintuitive, but I’m very encouraged by this development.”

For the unversed, Kane Williamson assumed New Zealand’s captaincy in 2016 and led the side in 202 matches across formats, winning 105 out of them.

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