HomeCricketThe Kane Williamson enigma

The Kane Williamson enigma

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You couldn’t set a field to Lara. You couldn’t curtail Ponting from hitting the pull. Tendulkar offered multiple shots to a single delivery.
Dravid could spend hours defending the ball, putting audiences to sleep.
Gayle is a one-track mind; see the ball, hit the ball and he wins, most of the time.
Kohli married elegance and ferocity with a sublime touch.

What is Kane Williamson’s enigma?

Kane Williamson
Williamson says, “I try to play the ball as late as I possibly can”. (Image: NDTV Sports)

“I try to play the ball as late as I possibly can,” said the great Kane Williamson back in 2015.
To the untrained eye of the non-partisan fan, probably Kane Williamson exemplifies the art of gathering runs quickly.
To the cricket expert, however, he’s both a stylish dasher who also possesses a rare technical proficiency; that of knowing where his off stump is.
To the bloke who likes hanging out on social media all day, he’s a vital power in modern cricket’s “Fab Four”.

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But there’s more to Kane Williamson

Williamson has the ability to change gears at will (Image: ECB)

Like the same tree that sheds autumn leaves but covers itself in rife greens during spring, Kane Williamson changes gears with a phenomenal ease.
Quite like India, a country that exists in grand opposites and paradoxes, Kane Williamson’s batting evokes myriad feelings.
Everything you hear about Kane Williamson is true and its opposite is also true.
He somewhere mirrors India, a land where you find a chawl directly opposite a big fat McDonald’s outlet as also a Rolls Royce running on a quasi- road defined by potholes.
There’s a little irony then that some of Kane Williamson’s favourite cricketers are Indians.
He’s the same bloke behind two contrasting knocks, both of which reflect the immensity of his personality.
In 2015, Kane played arguably his most phenomenal Test inning; a blockathon yielding 242 runs off 438 deliveries against Sri Lanka. A couple of years earlier, his rasp cuts and flashy cover drives resulted in a fiery 114 off 210 balls against Bangladesh in 2013.
Yet, interestingly, in both innings, his strike rate was 55.
Perhaps that points to a sense of consistency about a man who’s fondly described as New Zealand’s greatest batsman ever.
In an age that favours instant gratification, this sense of continuity augurs well for a sportsman.
Doesn’t it?
Williamson’s 18 Test hundreds are 5 more hen Joe Root’s, 8 more than Misbah ul Haq’s, 2 behind Mark Waugh, 15 more than Shoaib Malik’s, 9 behind Allan Border and Matt Hayden and 1 more than Adam Gilchrist.
You realise, how in the single construct of a stat is Kane Williamson leapfrogging some of the contemporaries and past greats and about to scale new peaks.
In ODIs, Ross Taylor took 204 games to get to his 18 hundreds, Williamson’s only recently played his 127th ODI and has 11 hundreds already.
One wonders how many might he have scored had he not gotten out in the 90s on a record 7 separate occasions.

Is Kane Williamson understated?

Kane Williamson Batting
As he likes to keep things simple, many a times he remains underrated (Image: Sky Sports)

While he is far from the grandiose aggregations that some of Cricket’s behemoths have gathered, for instance, Gayle’s two triple tons or an ODI double-hundred like a Fakhar, Rohit, or Sehwag, here’s what Kane has already done.
It took Dravid 16 years, 164 Test appearances to play 31,258 Test deliveries. In only 8 years of wielding that shapely Gray Nicolls, Williamson has faced nearly 10,600 Test deliveries. That’s a third of the challenge already completed having played 65 Tests, nearly a 100 fewer than ‘The Wall.’
At all this time, Kane Williamson hasn’t collected 28 runs in an over like Lara did back in the day, nor has he scored back-t0-back tons against India in a single Test.
He may not send bowlers into submission from the word go the way McCullum did.
He may not have struck a fancy world-cup double hundred like Guptill. Nor does he pop some gum or walk in swagger the way Sir Viv did.
But bowlers would rather opt out of bowling than play against a well set Williamson. He’s humble conduct in the game, workmanship in the middle, a sorted craft and, stable approach to building an inning have made him the people’s cricketer.

Never sledge Kane Williamson

Kane Williamson is known to be a quality strategist (Image: stuff.co.nz)

Johnson or Starc didn’t when they bowled to him in the 2015 World Cup finals. It was in 2015 that Kane collected 1376 runs from 26 matches.
He immediately bettered a somewhat bland World Cup outing- 243 runs, with 1 fifty- scoring 396 runs against England from 5 games and then, 187 from just 2 games against Zimbabwe.
In an year where Smith and Virat were firing scud missiles, Williamson’s batting evidenced a sugar rush, collecting 3 of his 11 ODI hundreds that same year.
In an era where Virat is the Metallica of batting, Kane Williamson possesses a Van Halen-like cult persona; tremendously zippy and yet, beautifully restrained.
This, it ought to be remembered, is an age where cricket is going rather ballsy with sportsmen wearing bling, fielding with unkempt collars, the shirts often tucked out and where the mic-stump camera plays lyrics that’d fit into a Kanye West or DMX album.
A mellow warrior like Williamson, who refrains from shenanigans like the bat-drop and rubbing his win on his opponents’ face is a reassuring conformity that Cricket is still a gentleman’s game.
It reaffirms the notion that not all of cricket is hyperbole or the triumph of the verbatim. Williamson’s brave stats augur well for the notion that it’s best where the bat does the talking.
At 28, he’s just at the peak of his cricketing career.

Purely on form, there’s over half a decade of life left in Williamson

That should automatically signal the bowlers a red flag.
Later this year as he prepares to face Rangana Herath in what will be the Sri Lankan’s swansong series, the prospect of Williamson’s defiance versus the foxiness of the spinner offers a mouth-watering prospect.
Of course, for viewers it’ll be another opportunity to engage in Kane Williamson’s charming artistry with the bat, having slammed both Indian bowling in the IPL and the West Indians at home earlier in 2018.
But, for the man, though, it’ll always be the classic rule by which he seems to play: take one series at a time. After all, competing and focusing on the ‘present’ holds the key, doesn’t it?

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Dev Tyagi
Dev Tyagi
Dravid believer, admirer of - the square drive, Drew Barrymore, Germany, Finland, Electric Mobility, simplicity and the power of the written word! Absolutely admire contributing to KyroSports

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