Kane Williamson quits captaincy, declines New Zealand Cricket central contract

Sports Wednesday 19/June/2024 09:03 AM
Kane Williamson quits captaincy, declines New Zealand Cricket central contract

Wellington : New Zealand batter Kane Williamson declined the central contract for the 2024-25 year but emphasised his long-term commitment to the Blackcaps.

New Zealand Cricket on Wednesday released a statement to confirm that the veteran batter opted out of the central contract for the 2024-25 season.

Speculations were building around Williamson's future after New Zealand suffered a heartbreak following an early exit in the ongoing T20 World Cup.

With 358 appearances for the Kiwis in his decorated career, the 33-year-old opted out of the contract list and white-ball captaincy in a bid to extend his international career.

"Helping push the team forward across the formats is something I'm very passionate about and something I want to keep contributing towards. However, pursuing an overseas opportunity during the New Zealand summer means I'm unable to accept a central contract offer," Williamson said as quoted from a statement by New Zealand Cricket.

New Zealand's schedule for the 2024-25 season won't be hectic as the Kiwis have minimal bilateral series commitments till the January window.

But Williamson will remain available for the eight World Test Championship matches that New Zealand will engage in in a bid to once again play in the final, which will be played next year at the Lord's in June.

In November end, New Zealand will play the first Test of the three-match series against England on home soil.

But before they embark on their WTC journey, Williamson is pleased to find a way to balance his personal and professional life as he continues to strive to play for his nation.

"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," he added.

NZC CEO Scott Weenink acknowledged Williamson's contributions and feels that their experienced star had earned the right to take some time off to pursue other goals, which included family-oriented priorities.

"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. We have very little international cricket in New Zealand through January, and outside that period he's still available for the BLACKCAPS," Weenink said.

"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," he added.

New Zealand concluded their T20 World Cup campaign with a convincing 7-wicket win over Papua New Guinea.