Kane Williamson turns down central contract, relinquishes captaincy-Selambe

It was a bolt out of the blue for New Zealand cricket on Wednesday, June 19, as Kane Williamson revealed that he won’t be accepting a new central contract for the 2024-25 season. The experienced campaigner has reaffirmed his commitment to New Zealand cricket despite this decision even as he relinquishes captaincy of the Blackcaps.The 33-year-old stated that he is pursuing an opportunity to feature in an overseas league during the New Zealand summer and thus would not be available for the national side during that period. Apart from that time frame, he has said that he will be always around to play for New Zealand.“Helping push the team forward across the formats is something I’m very passionate about and something I want to keep contributing towards,” Williamson said. “However, pursuing an overseas opportunity during the New Zealand summer means I’m unable to accept a central contract offer.“Playing for New Zealand is something I treasure, and my desire to give back to the team remains undiminished. My life outside cricket has changed however – spending more time with my family and enjoying experiences with them at home or abroad is something that’s even more important to me.”Even though New Zealand prefer selecting players who are centrally contracted, they are willing to make an exception for Williamson, says CEO Scott Weenink. “This is a good way to help keep Kane in the international game so that he continues to play a major role for the BLACKCAPS – both now and in the years to come,” said Weenink. “We have very little international cricket in New Zealand through January and outside that period he’s still available for the BLACKCAPS. NZC has a strong preference to select centrally contracted players for the BLACKCAPS, however we’re happy to make an exception for our greatest ever batter – especially as he remains so committed to the team.”Under Williamson, New Zealand crashed out of the ongoing T20 World Cup in the first round itself, a shocking exit which ended a great run for the Kiwi side in ICC white-ball tournaments in recent years. In the aftermath, fast bowler Trent Boult had already announced that it was his last T20 World Cup.New Zealand will also have to appoint a new limited-overs skipper now following Williamson’s decision. He had already given up Test captaincy in 2022 and was leading the team only in limited-overs cricket. Under his leadership, New Zealand agonisingly lost the 2019 World Cup final against England, lost the 2021 T20 World Cup final to Australia but managed to clinch the inaugural World Test Championship in 2021 by beating India.Apart from the veteran batter, pacer Lockie Ferguson has also shown reluctance in signing the central contract.
Contract News | Kane Williamson has re-emphasised his long-term commitment to the BLACKCAPS in all three formats – despite declining a central contract for the 2024-25 year. #CricketNation
— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) June 18, 2024

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