Williamson walks among our batting elite
I’ve been wrestling with where to place Kane Williamson among New Zealand’s greatest test batsmen. To my mind, he fits snugly at No 2 just now.
Williamson, only 25, has done some amazing things in test cricket, including a century on debut, at Ahmedabad in 2010.
India had New Zealand 137-4 chasing 487 when Williamson joined Jesse Ryder. They put on 194 and Williamson scored 131.
He has scored 12 test centuries, including a match-saving effort against the fire of South Africa in Wellington, a fighting double century to help New Zealand recover and beat Sri Lanka, also in Wellington, and his recent heroics in Australia.
(I’m not assessing one-day internationals here, but in that format he averages 48.02, the highest of any New Zealander. And who’ll forget his six off Pat Cummins to win the World Cup thriller against Australia at Eden Park in February?)
Williamson, a Tauranga product, has been unstoppable throughout his cricket life. He hit 40 centuries as a schoolboy.
He is unprepossessing at the crease, shortish (1.73m or 5ft 8in), slight and rather passive in manner – ‘‘David playing like Goliath’’, as Martin Crowe once wrote.
But he has everything covered. He punches well off the back foot, can cut and hook, and is fast on his feet in advancing to spinners. He’s also invariably calm and composed.
With Williamson on the charge – he has scored 1063 runs in only seven tests in 2015 at 88.58, easily the world’s highest – I have moved him up my list of New Zealand’s top 10 test batsmen:
73 matches, 5444 runs at 45.36, 17 centuries. Still our best. Always looked classy and in control, and he played against some great bowlers.
1. Martin Crowe.
45 matches, 3786 runs at 49.16, 12 centuries. The only thing missing is longevity. He is a rare talent.
41 matches, 2991 runs at 44.64, 7 centuries. Was outstanding early in his career, but then elected to bypass test cricket for five years. That counts against him.
68 matches, 5197 runs at 45.99, 13 centuries. No stylist, but the stats don’t lie. He’s been a rock batting at No 4.
82 matches, 5334 runs at 37.82, 12 centuries.
2. Kane Williamson.
3. Glenn Turner.
4. Ross Taylor.
5. John Wright.
Gutsy opener who faced so many great fast bowlers during his 15 years at the top.
98 matches, 6237 runs at 38.73, 11 centuries. Erratic, even rash, but how do you argue with a test treble century, three doubles and a 195?
6. Brendon McCullum.
7. Stewie Dempster.
10 tests, 723 runs at 65.72, 2 centuries. A fantastic average in a limited test career. Our first great batsman.
39 matches, 2922 runs at 44.27, 7 centuries. Unorthodox, but effective. Always up for the battle.
8. Andrew Jones.
7 matches, 582 runs at 52.90, 1 century. The cricket experts
9. Martin Donnelly.
raved about him. Such a pity his cricket prime was lost to World War II.
42 matches, 2727 runs at 40.10, 5 centuries. Scored massively at first-class level, but struggled against pace for much of his test career after being smashed on the head by Neil Adcock in South Africa.
10. Bert Sutcliffe.
Kane Williamson on the drive against Sri Lanka in DunedIn on Sunday.