29 Jul 2019

Kane Williamson: 'Someone's idea decided the final'

6:13 pm on 29 July 2019

Kane Williamson isn't feeling confident about being named New Zealander of the Year and admits he finds it tough to understand how the Black Caps were denied at the Cricket World Cup.

NZ test captain Kane Williamson.

NZ test captain Kane Williamson. Photo: PhotoSport

The Black Caps captain has been nominated for the award after his outstanding performance and leadership at the Cricket World Cup.

New Zealand only missed out on the title to hosts England because of a countback on number of boundaries hit in the final at Lord's earlier this month.

England's star performer in the final was Kiwi-born Ben Stokes, who has politely turned down his own nomination for New Zealander of the Year.

The all-rounder has instead urged the country to get behind Williamson for the award.

But the Black Caps captain, who hit 578 runs from just nine innings at the tournament, told RNZ he wasn't reading too much into Stokes' support, or the nomination.

"I think he was just avoiding that attention himself, so he was just palming it off in another direction," Williamson said with a wry smile as the New Zealand Test squad for next month's tour to Sri Lanka was named today.

"I don't think that will be the case [that I will win it]. It's a very humbling idea from maybe a couple of people, but for us we're just trying to play the sort of cricket we want to play.

"We just want to go about our business in way that our people are proud to get behind us."

Watch Checkpoint's full interview with Kane Williamson:

Many of those very people, along with former players and cricket fans around the world, have expressed a significant amount of sympathy for Williamson and the rest of the Black Caps since the World Cup ended.

The way the title was decided has courted plenty of criticism, with many feeling it was not fair New Zealand missed out on the silverware when they didn't technically lose the match.

After a couple of weeks to reflect on the way England were eventually crowned champions, Williamson admitted it was still tough to understand.

"It's a difficult one, because essentially it's someone's idea that's decided the final rather than perhaps cricket itself.

"I feel for our guys but I feel for their guys as well, and probably all the supporters around the world.

"It's interesting but both sides, all players involved, have played so much cricket throughout their careers … and then here you are on the biggest stage and to be involved in a game where it's been decided with something that's so foreign is new to everybody."

Despite the unexpected and agonising way in which they missed out on the title, Williamson and the rest of the Black Caps squad have been widely lauded for the way they have conducted themselves since the final.

That, and their conduct leading up to the final, added further weight to the tag some have given the team as the 'nice guys' of world cricket.

But as he prepared to led his team on their next challenge to Sri Lanka, the Black Caps skipper said that was simply a product of doing what they felt most comfortable with.

"You can do things a number of different ways.

"For us it's not having the idea of being, or living up to a tag of being, nice guys. It's not that at all.

"Other teams do things in different ways and we respect that, that's absolutely fine. But for us, it's coming back to the sort of characteristics and traits we want to uphold when we play cricket.

"We just want to go about our business in a way that our people are proud to get behind us.

"Ultimately [you hope] some young kids coming through might be inspired to pick up the game, enjoy it and take it through to some later years."

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