Kane Williamson quits New Zealand’s Test captaincy, Tim Southee takes over

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New Zealand’s all-format captain Kane Williamson has decided to step down as his country’s red-ball chief, which he took over from Brendon McCullum in 2016. Tim Southee will now be the Kiwi skipper in the longest format, while Williamson will continue to lead the side in white-ball cricket.

After leading New Zealand to emerge victorious in 22 out of 40 Tests across six years, Kane Williamson on Thursday stepped down from his country’s captaincy role. However, the 32-year-old, under whom New Zealand won the inaugural World Test Championship final against India at the Ageas Bowl last year, will continue as ODI and T20I captain and will keep playing all three formats.

"Captaining the BLACKCAPS in Test cricket has been an incredibly special honour," Williamson said in a statement. "For me, Test cricket is the pinnacle of the game and I've enjoyed the challenges of leading the side in the format. Captaincy comes with an 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 that continuing to captain the white-ball formats was preferable with two World Cups in the next two years."

Williamson averaged 57 and scored 11 centuries as New Zealand Test captain, both of which are the highest among his countrymates. He hands over the leadership to Tim Southee, who will become New Zealand's 31st Test skipper when their tour of Pakistan will get underway on December 26 in Karachi.

"Kane's guided the Test team through an immensely successful period which is a testament to his ability to bring people together and work towards a common goal," New Zealand head coach Gary Stead said. "We hope by lessening his workload we can continue to see the best of Kane Williamson for longer on the international stage, and we know he will remain a key leader in this group."

Previously, Southee has captained New Zealand in 22 T20Is and one ODI, but never in Tests. Commenting on his new role, the fast bowler said, “It's been a surreal few days and it's just a massive honor to be appointed as Test captain. I love Test cricket, it's the ultimate challenge and I'm really excited by the opportunity to lead the team in this format. Kane's been an outstanding Test captain and I'm looking forward to working with Gary on how we can build on that."

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