Kane Williamson steps down as New Zealand Test captain, Tim Southee to replace him

Kane Williamson will step down as captain of the New Zealand Test side, a New Zealand Cricket release said on Wednesday night. Pacer Tim Southee will take up the leadership mantle, the release stated.

However, Williamson will continue to lead the Kiwis in ODI and T20I cricket and has reiterated his desire to play all three formats internationally. “Captaining New Zealand in Test cricket has been an incredibly special honour,” Williamson said.

“For me, Test cricket is the pinnacle of the game and I’ve enjoyed the challenges of leading the side in the format. Captaincy comes with an increased workload on and off the field and at this stage of my career I feel the time is right for this decision. After discussions with NZC, we felt that continuing to captain the white-ball formats was preferable with two World Cups in the next two years,” he added.

Southee, who has 346 internationals to his name and has led the T20 side on 22 occasions, will become New Zealand’s 31st Test captain when he leads the team on this month’s Test tour to Pakistan.

Canterbury opener Tom Latham has been confirmed as Test vice-captain, after previously leading the side in Williamson’s absence.

“I’m excited to support Tim as captain and Tom as vice-captain. Having played with both of them for most of my career, I’m confident they’ll do a great job. Playing for New Zealand and contributing in all three formats is my number one priority and I’m looking forward to the cricket we have ahead,” Williamson said.

Williamson has captained the Test team on 38 occasions (22 wins, 8 draws, 10 losses) since assuming the role from Brendon McCullum in 2016.

Southee, the current Sir Richard Hadlee Medal winner, said it was humbling to be asked to lead the Test side.

“It’s been a surreal few days and it’s just a massive honour to be appointed as Test captain. I love Test cricket, it’s the ultimate challenge and I’m really excited by the opportunity to lead the team in this format. Kane’s been an outstanding Test captain and I’m looking forward to working with Gary on how we can build on that,” the pacer said.

Southee’s first challenge as captain will come against Pakistan with whom the BlackCaps will play two Tests in Karachi and Multan in December/January.

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