Cricket: Williamson's class revealed

By David Leggat

Kane Williamson showed maturity in his partnership with Tim Southee, which rescued the New Zealand innings yesterday. Photo / Alan Gibson
Kane Williamson showed maturity in his partnership with Tim Southee, which rescued the New Zealand innings yesterday. Photo / Alan Gibson

It wasn't a century, or even a 50 - those marks may come today - but Kane Williamson's measured unbeaten 44 yesterday helped dig New Zealand out of a hole on day one of the test series against Pakistan.

It was a day which moved Williamson's international education forward another step, after having taken solid strides last year.

There was his maiden ODI century in Dhaka, amid the rubble of that disastrous 4-0 ODI beating from the hosts, followed by his 131 on test debut against India in Ahmedabad in November.

In cliche-land, these are what are known as "big raps" on the 20-year-old from Tauranga.

Those who've had dealings with him rate him a mature head on young shoulders and a player possessing an above-average level of natural talent.

But making the national team, and feeling part of it can be two distinctly different things.

New Zealand, despite a shallow pool of talent, has had its share of players who weren't ever really sure they belonged.

That's why Williamson's century off an attack including Zaheer Khan, Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and Harbhajan Singh was important.

"Having that knock under your belt makes you feel more like you belong, so, yeah, it was important," he said.

He found the tour was a large learning experience. The No 1 lesson out of it?

"You can't be stubborn with your game.

"You train all your life in New Zealand and feel like you know your game. Then you get over there and it's so different. You have to be able to adapt and be happy to change to succeed."

For example, the value of using soft hands when batting was rammed home to him in India to counter spinners getting plenty of turn. That and making sure clear thought processes are at work to prepare for each innings.

Williamson recalled his tribulations on an A tour to India.

"I failed abysmally because I felt I'd trained in winter doing one thing. I went over there trying to do that thing and it didn't work."

The century made him only the eighth New Zealand batsman to mark his debut with a ton.

His emotions were a mix at the time. "It was a funny one. You've still got your task, which was to try and get past the opposition's score so you're focusing pretty heavily on each delivery.

"If you do that you can bat for a long period of time without getting as tired as if you're looking at bigger results.

"When it came it was certainly very nice and a figure people see as being something special. I tried to take it in my stride because I knew 100 wasn't a time to relax.

"I look back at it now and treat it as a good innings."

That attitude squares with a demeanour which indicates a level head towards his cricket.

"If you look too far ahead then things can happen that are out of our control."

And Williamson seems a 20-year-old with a steady hand on the control dial.

- NZ Herald

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