The home summer of cricket without Kane Williamson is like Christmas without Santa.

The fall of George Worker's wicket in the third one-day international at Christchurch would normally bring the chords of the John Butler Trio's Zebra onto the public address system.

That theme music means the New Zealand captain is on his way.

Instead, the Hagley Oval crowd heard the opening riffs of Metallica's Enter Sandman. Cue Neil Broom.


Broom is hardly a lump of coal in New Zealand fans' Boxing Day stockings, but they know watching Williamson at work is a chance to observe a cricketing treasure, both in batsmanship and sportsmanship.

New Zealand Cricket, and particularly the selectors, must exercise caution when limiting his appearances in home summers.

Two winter off seasons – in 2017 and 2018 – should be ample time to rest.

Many fans would have forked out precious disposable income to book their tickets months ago on the assumption Williamson would be playing. The spectacle is diluted otherwise.

As a gauge for the future, NZC should fence off a group of players – such as Williamson, Ross Taylor, Trent Boult and possibly Tim Southee – who play under all circumstances, form and injury permitting, because of their status.

Those names, along with Martin Guptill in white ball internationals, are magnets for generating an audience.

Anecdotal evidence exists in this writer's household. When the cricket's on telly, the first question his four-year-old son asks after coming in from playing is: "Are Williamson and Taylor batting yet?"

Any fan disappointment is understandable with Williamson not featuring in the two ODIs against the West Indies at Christchurch, or the opening T20 at Nelson. Thankfully, he will be back for the second T20 in his home city of Tauranga when the Bay Oval floodlights make their international debut.


It's a relief coach and selector Mike Hesson confirmed a full strength team will play against Champions Trophy winners Pakistan when they arrive for five ODIs and three T20s next month.

However, a case can be built that the gamble to rest Williamson and Southee from the majority of the 3-0 ODI series victory paid off.

Given this is one of the weaker West Indies sides to visit New Zealand, the fixtures were an opportunity to develop depth in the limited overs ranks.

That strategy earned a tick with the performances of Worker, Todd Astle, Lockie Ferguson, Henry Nicholls and Colin Munro.

Conversely, what does that say about the international integrity of the series?

Still, Hesson can argue his side has built a quality one-day record over the last three years.

They have played every test-playing country across 67 matches, fashioning a record of 42 wins and 25 losses for a win ratio of 63 per cent. Among test-playing nations South Africa (66 percent), India (65 per cent), England (63) and Australia (63) are just ahead across the same period.

Compare that to New Zealand's historical record of 695 played, 327 won, 362 lost; a win ratio of 47 per cent.

This year the Black Caps regained the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy against a depleted Australia and lost series deciders against South Africa and India. The biggest disappointment was at the Champions Trophy, which ended with a five-wicket defeat to Bangladesh in Cardiff.

"Our percentage winning is as good as it ever has been in terms of ODI cricket," Hesson said after dominating the West Indies.

"We're playing some good cricket but were also using this series to provide some competition for places, and give guys some well-deserved opportunities.

"But Pakistan, having won the Champions Trophy, will be a different challenge."