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 Wednesday night. Pacer Tim Southee will assume the mantle of leadership, the release said.

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 was an incredibly special honour,” said Williamson.

“For me, Test cricket is the pinnacle of the game and I have enjoyed the challenges of leading the side in the format. Being captain comes with 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 it was better to continue to captain the white-ball formats with two World Cups in the next two years,” he added.

Southee, who has 346 internationals to his name and has captained the T20 squad 22 times, 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, having previously led the side in Williamson’s absence.

“I am delighted to support Tim as captain and Tom as vice-captain. I’ve played with both of them for most of my career and 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 look forward to the cricket ahead of us,” said Williamson.

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

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

“It’s been an unreal few days and it’s just a huge honor to be appointed Test Captain. I love Test cricket, it’s the ultimate challenge and I’m really excited about the chance to lead the team in this format. Kane has been an outstanding test captain and I look forward to working with Gary on how we can build on that,” said the pacesetter.

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

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