Mark Richardson is a former Black Cap and current columnist for the Herald on Sunday

Mark Richardson: Time for Williamson to turn potential into greatness


This is the summer of Kane Williamson. Well, I hope it is ... it needs to be, in fact I think it definitely is time.

He's made a good start with a composed and professional 114 at Chittagong. It was test century number four but let's put it into perspective. It was against Bangladesh, but that does not make it a 'gimme'. It means three of his four test centuries have been scored on the low, flat surfaces of the subcontinent.

This is not to say he cannot play in all conditions; he can, but his 'notables' are on the low, barren pitches of India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

This is due to a defensive technique that, while excellent in the way he lets the ball come to him and doesn't push, can be too crease-bound. If the ball bounces and moves it can turn a reasonable ball into a great one. He can change that this summer with tests at home against the West Indies and India. He has to be the dominant batsman. It is his time.

Williamson now commands the No3 position, no question. He has to realise the potential he has and become our leading batsman.

With 26 tests it is no longer early in his career. He is now entering what must be his productive era.

No longer can he be considered promising; his test appearances from now define him as a player.

To continue averaging in the 30s is not good enough. It would represent a failure to realise his talents. His first class average of 41 is 10 runs better than his test average, yet I believe he is capable of averaging closer to 50 than 40 at the highest level.

Has T20 and ODI cricket held him back in tests? Maybe. He has become good in these forms and has almost done so in a belligerent way to prove wrong those who labelled him a test specialist.

It's a credit to his cricketing know-how. However, now it's time to do the same as our No3 batsman in test cricket.

- Herald on Sunday

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Mark Richardson is a former Black Cap and current columnist for the Herald on Sunday

Mark Hunter Richardson represented New Zealand in 38 Tests from 2000-2004 racking up an impressive 2,776 runs with an average of 44.7. The former Black Cap began his cricketing career as a left-arm spinner but soon realised that his talents lay with the bat. The transition from ball to bat was seamless and Richardson soon made his international debut against Zimbabwe at the age of 29. Known as a stalwart opener, Richardson’s intelligent style of hard-grind batting came at the perfect time for New Zealand cricket and provided much-needed stability for the Black Caps. Apart from being an excellent opening batsman, Mark Richardson was well-known among fans and team mates for his humorous off-pitch antics and friendly interactions with the famous Beige Brigade, with whom he formed a strong relationship. An excellent cricketer with a personable quality, Richardson once remarked that his retiring first-class average was only different to that of Sir Donald Bradman by a decimal point. Mark Richardson retired from all forms of the game in 2004 and continues to write an insightful, thought-provoking column for the New Zealand Herald.

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