New Zealand’s Next Great Batsman?

Potential: Kane Williamson has all the attributes of a future great

It has been around 31 months now since a 20-year-old debutant made 131 in a drawn match in Ahmedabad. Since then, Kane Williamson has not quite reached the level of performance expected of him, but he is a work in progress and New Zealand are still looking to him to become the rock in their shaky batting line-up.

It is hard to believe Williamson is still only 22. He has already taken on a stack of responsibility within the New Zealand side despite his inexperience.He is the number three batsman, the platform around which the more expansive likes of Ross Taylor and Brendon McCullum can shine.

He is also, effectively, vice captain. New Zealand do not have an officially appointed deputy to McCullum, but when McCullum was off the field during England’s recent series in New Zealand it was Williamson who assumed command on the field. He has a calm and steady head on his shoulders, allied to a batting temperament that is second to none in his country.

With 25 Tests behind him following today’s climax at Headingley, Williamson has struck three centuries. True, it is not an overwhelming number, but in a nation that has traditional struggled to find batsmen that make hundreds it is a good start for a young man.

Indeed, when compared to New Zealand’s other premier batsmen at the same age, Williamson stands strong. He has made more runs than any New Zealander in history before their 23rd birthday, even including the great Martin Crowe. Craig McMillan leads the way for the Kiwis in terms of average, and is the only man to tie with Williamson’s three Test centuries. Notable players who never played a Test before their 23rd birthday include Ross Taylor, Nathan Astle, Bevan Congdon and John Wright.

New Zealand batsmen (3,000+ career runs) – records before 23rd birthday

 

Matches

Runs

Average

100/50

Craig McMillan

15

1,069

46.48

3/6

John Reid

4

245

35.00

-/3

Stephen Fleming

18

1,025

34.17

-/7

Kane Williamson

25

1,385

31.48

3/8

Martin Crowe

23

1,113

30.08

2/4

Chris Cairns

7

213

17.75

-/1

Daniel Vettori

35

732

17.02

-/4

Richard Hadlee

7

155

14.09

-/-

Williamson’s record may be only fourth best among the group, but it cannot be forgotten that those above him played far less matches, particularly Reid, and the man who made the closest number of appearances to him as a youth – Martin Crowe – did not match his level of performance. Crowe finished his career as the leading century-maker in New Zealand’s history, with 17, a target Williamson should be expected to pass with comfort.

With a good 12 years left in him, and probably another 80-100 Test matches, should Williamson score at a rate of one century even ten innings he would comfortably finish with around 20 Test hundreds. The problem may be captaincy, however, a burden which limited Stephen Fleming’s immense talent to just nine Test hundreds.

In keeping with the comparison of New Zealand’s previous great batsmen, below is a table of all New Zealanders to have made at least 3,000 career Test runs with their records after 25 matches – Williamson’s current figure (which includes the Headingley Test concluded today).  From it we can see how successfully Taylor began his career, as the leading run-scorer after 25 matches of all players with 3,000+ runs. Crowe is again far lower than many would have expected to see him, although he matched Williamson’s three centuries.

New Zealand batsmen (3,000+ career Test runs) – record after 25 Tests

 

Matches

Runs

Average

100/50

Ross Taylor

25

1,941

43.13

5/9

Craig McMillan

25

1,648

42.26

3/11

Nathan Astle

25

1,487

35.40

4/7

Stephen Fleming

25

1,467

34.93

1/11

Bevan Congdon

25

1,437

29.94

1/10

Kane Williamson

25

1,385

31.48

3/8

John Reid

25

1,357

31.56

3/8

Martin Crowe

25

1,309

32.73

3/4

John Wright

25

1,233

28.67

2/5

Chris Cairns

25

883

21.02

1/10

Richard Hadlee

25

786

19.17

-/2

Daniel Vettori

25

569

17.78

-/4

Of course, one notable absentee from the qualifications is Glenn Turner, who finished his distinguished career with 2,991 Test runs. For the sake of comparison, Turner played nine Tests before his 23rd birthday, scoring 550 runs at 34.36 – a higher average than Williamson but with nowhere near the same experience and weight of runs. By 25 Tests, he had made 2,083 runs at 50.80 – more than any other New Zealander in history. He made 5 centuries in this time, too – more than Williamson by two and level with Taylor at the top of the tree. Clearly, then, Williamson suffers in comparison with arguably the greatest New Zealand batsman of all time, but then again that is nothing to be ashamed of and clearly the young man has enough potential to go on break his nation’s records in terms of runs and centuries.

Compact, tough, resilient and determined, Williamson has all the attributes to build a fine career and perhaps even go on to make a great one. Whether of not he goes on to become the greatest New Zealander of all time, only time will tell, but for now we can continue to enjoy the blossoming of a young career littered with promise.

Advertisements

7 thoughts on “New Zealand’s Next Great Batsman?

  1. Pingback: huttrivervalley | Another challenge for NZ’s master batsman…

  2. Pingback: alexnsmith77 | Fighting For Equality: The Women’s Game

  3. Pingback: alexnsmith77 | All-Time Test XI

  4. Pingback: alexnsmith77 | Battle of the Bowling Attacks: New Zealand or Australia?

  5. Pingback: alexnsmith77 | New Zealand Player Ratings (5 Tests)

  6. Pingback: alexnsmith77 | US Police Drill Cricketer’s Bat

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s