Wil­liamson walks among our bat­ting elite

Kapi-Mana News - - CLASSIFIEDS - JOSEPH ROMANOS Sports Talk

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.

PHOTO: PHOTOSPORT

Kane Wil­liamson on the drive against Sri Lanka in DunedIn on Sun­day.

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