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Williamson turns down NZ central contract, relinquishes white-ball captaincy

19 Jun, 2024 09:40 IST|Sakshi Post

Christchurch, June 19 (IANS) Kane Williamson has turned down a central contract for the 2024-25 year. He also stepped down from the white-ball captaincy role to extend his international career, the New Zealand Cricket said on Wednesday.

The announcement follows New Zealand's disappointing T20 World Cup 2024 campaign, where they failed to advance to a semifinal in a men's World Cup for the first time since 2014.

"Helping push the team forward across the formats is something I’m very passionate about and something I want to keep contributing towards,” Williamson was quoted by NZC. "However, pursuing an overseas opportunity during the New Zealand summer means I’m unable to accept a central contract offer."

Williamson, however, will remain available for New Zealand, who will play eight World Test Championship matches before Christmas and attend the ICC Champions Trophy tournament in Pakistan in February-March.

Despite declining a central contract, the veteran of over 350 internationals said he remained open to potentially accepting a central contract offer in the future.

"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," he said.

The 33-year-old has 165 ODI caps and 93 T20I caps. He led New Zealand in 40 Tests, 91 ODIs and 75 T20Is - a journey which included the World Test Championship 2021 triumph, the 2019 ODI World Cup final and the T20 World Cup 2021 final. He also played his 100th Test earlier this year.

NZC CEO Scott Weenink said Williamson was a great New Zealand player who had earned the right to take some time off to pursue other goals, including family-oriented priorities.

"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.

"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," said Weenink.

Moreover, fast bowler Lockie Ferguson has also indicated he won’t accept a central contract offer when the contracting process opens.

The final list of central contract offers is likely to be released next month.

Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by the Sakshi Post team and is auto-generated from syndicated feed.

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