Williamson steps down as New Zealand captain after T20 World Cup; declines central contract

Kane Williamson affirmed his commitment to New Zealand, despite his decision to decline the opportunity to be part of the central contract list.

In news that has sent shockwaves across the cricketing fraternity, Kane Williamson has announced his decision to step down from white-ball captaincy and decline New Zealand’s central contract in an effort to prolong his international career.

This announcement follows the conclusion of New Zealand's ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024 campaign, where they were eliminated in the group stages for the first time since 2014 after suffering defeats to the West Indies and Afghanistan, the two teams that progressed to Super Eight from Group C.

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Despite the decision, Williamson reiterated his dedication to the Blackcaps, committing to participate in eight World Test Championship matches in the coming months and the ICC Champions Trophy in Pakistan next year.

The 33-year-old also mentioned that he is open to the possibility of accepting a central contract in the future.

“Helping push the team forward across the formats is something I’m very passionate about and something I want to keep contributing towards,” Kane 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.”

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In response to Williamson's decision, NZC CEO Scott Weenink said that the Kiwi stalwart deserved the chance to take a break and focus on other pursuits, including family commitments, for all that he had done for New Zealand cricket.

“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 Mr. 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.

“I know it sounds a bit counterintuitive, but I’m very encouraged by this development.”

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The final list of New Zealand central contracts is expected to be announced next month. Another notable player likely to be absent from this list is Lockie Ferguson, who has already indicated that he will not be accepting a central contract.

NewsKane Williamson 08/08/1990