Sunday, April 14, 2024

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson overtakes Virat Kohli and Steve Smith to become new ICC number one batsman in cricket test

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New Zealand champion drummer Kane Williamson climbed to the top of the Men’s International Cricket Council Test batting standings to mark an exceptional summer.

The Black Caps skipper rose to 890 to overtake Indian ace Virat Kohli (879) and Australian star Steve Smith (877) to take first place for the first time since 2015.

The return to the top is a reward for Williamson’s brilliance with the blade against the West Indies and Pakistan in December, against whom he averaged 133.66 and scored two centuries, including 251 career high shots.

Since the start of 2020, the right-hander has averaged 83 against India, the West Indies and Pakistan.

Smith held the first rank for 313 days of 2020 and the throne was Kohli’s for 51 days.

The ICC’s year-end update of its ranking took into account the first test between New Zealand and Pakistan at Tauranga, the first test between South Africa and Sri Lanka at Centurion and the second test between Australia and India in Melbourne.

And in the events that helped Williamson to the top, the second set of Test of the Border-Gavaskar trophies saw Smith doing just zero and eight, while Kohli left Australia after the opening test for the birth of her first child.

Instead of basking in his own excellence, Williamson took the opportunity offered by his latest achievement to praise Kohli and Smith.

“These two players are the best, so for me to sneak in a certain way is very surprising and humiliating,” Williamson said in an interview with the ICC.

“But at the same time, I’m sure there are other rankings out there that clearly indicate the success of these two.

“Year after year these two players, in all formats, drive the game forward, and I’m really lucky to play against these guys.”

Williamson was also named this week in ICC Men’s Trial Team of the Decade, with the right-hander entering the first drop and joining Alastair Cook, David Warner, Kohli, Smith and Kumar Sangakkara in the top six.

Williamson will then prepare in Christchurch when New Zealand host Pakistan in the second and final test of their series, starting on Sunday.

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