Cricket: Williamson named skipper's understudy for test series

By David Leggat

Captain and batsman Brendon McCullum. Photo / Getty Images
Captain and batsman Brendon McCullum. Photo / Getty Images

New Zealand have a test vice-captain against South Africa, although the role is not top of new skipper Brendon McCullum's priority list.

McCullum, preparing to take charge of the national side in a test match for the first time, has confirmed No3 batsman Kane Williamson will fill the vice-captaincy role during the two-test rubber starting at Newlands tomorrow night.

McCullum has publicly raised the idea of seamer Tim Southee as a vice-captaincy candidate, a move that would not have been universally well received at New Zealand Cricket HQ.

Williamson is expected to be a test skipper at some point, but the argument has been raised that he should be shielded from the extra responsibility to give him time to develop his batting.

However, Southee is injured and out of the South African tour, so Williamson it is, should McCullum have to vacate the field for any length of time.

McCullum recently spoke of Williamson's "great cricketing brain".

"We're not looking to name a vice- captain," McCullum said yesterday. "I'm not a big believer in vice-captains. As long as you have a good, strong leadership group around you, that is more important than having a vice- captain."

McCullum, preparing for his 71st test, will be New Zealand's 28th test skipper. His immediate predecessor, Ross Taylor, was at the helm for 13 tests.

New Zealand's most-capped leader is Stephen Fleming, who captained the country in 80 tests and is now McCullum's manager.

- NZ Herald

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