Wednesday, July 24, 2024

NZC: Williamson declines national contract | remains committed to BLACKCAPS

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Photo Credit: New Zealand Cricket

Kane Williamson has re-emphasised his long-term commitment to the BLACKCAPS in all three formats – despite declining a central contract for the 2024-25 year.

The veteran of over 350 internationals will forgo a central contract and the captaincy of the BLACKCAPS white ball teams in a move he hopes will extend his international career.

The 33-year-old has opted to take advantage of a particular set of circumstances this summer in which very little international cricket is being played in New Zealand during the January window.

Outside that month, he remains available for the BLACKCAPS, who will play eight World Test Championship matches before Christmas and attend the ICC Champions Trophy tournament in Pakistan in February-March.

Players offered NZC central contracts must commit to being available for both the BLACKCAPS and the domestic Dream11 Super Smash competition.

Williamson said his decision should not be interpreted as a sign he was losing interest in international cricket; on the contrary, he remained open to potentially accepting a central contract offer in the future.

Representing New Zealand was still a priority.

“Helping push the team forward across the formats is something I’m very passionate about and something I want to keep contributing towards,” he said

“However, pursuing an overseas opportunity during the New Zealand summer means I’m unable to accept a central contract offer.”

He was pleased to find a way to balance a hectic playing schedule with his ongoing passion to play for his country.

“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.”

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,” said Mr Weenink.

“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.”

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

An announcement covering the final list of contract offers is likely next month.

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