Williamson to take part in SA20 season 2 after opting out of NZ’s central contract

New Delhi, Jun 19 (IANS): Kane Williamson has confirmed his participation in the SA20 season 2 in January 2025, after opting out of New Zealand's central contract for the 2024-25 season. Despite this decision, Williamson has emphasised that his commitment to New Zealand cricket remains unwavering, dismissing any notions that his international career is nearing its conclusion.

Williamson explained that his decision was influenced by New Zealand Cricket’s (NZC) contractual stipulations. According to NZC rules, players must participate in the domestic Super Smash competition if not on international duty to be eligible for a central contract.

Balancing these commitments while exploring other competitive opportunities led Williamson to forego the central contract, though he is expected to miss only a handful of matches, including three ODIs and three T20Is against Sri Lanka.

"There's a number of great competitions during that time, but SA20 looks really exciting," Williamson told reporters upon his return to New Zealand after the T20 World Cup. "Unfortunately, it meant turning down a central contract. However, my priority still is, absolutely, playing for New Zealand. I might miss a handful of games over a three-week period. It's simply the contract, the rules that currently exist meant I wasn't able to have one but in terms of playing for New Zealand I'm not missing almost any cricket really, so that was important to me."

Despite declining the contract, Williamson's international calendar remains busy. He will participate in the World Test Championship (WTC) series against Sri Lanka and India away, a three-match home series against England, and an ODI series in Pakistan ahead of the Champions Trophy in February. There is, however, some uncertainty regarding his participation in the one-off Test against Afghanistan in September.

Looking ahead, Williamson and NZC CEO Scott Weenink have discussed the future, including the possibility of playing until the 2028 T20 World Cup, which will be co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia. Williamson, who will be 38 by then, remains non-committal publicly but acknowledges the allure of major events and significant series, such as the Test series in Australia in 2026-27.

"I want to play as long as I can," Williamson stated. "I've really, really enjoyed my time captaining and it's been a privilege and an honour to do that for a number of years. I'm excited about what's next for the team in terms of the leadership as well and looking forward to being part of that. In terms of a timeframe, it's difficult to say. I want to keep being fit, doing as well as I can, and keep trying to improve. That [2028] is a number of years away and it's a year at a time. All major events and key series are things that whet the appetite and are an exciting prospect. Managing my time as well as I can after doing it for so many years is important and I know New Zealand Cricket are really supportive of that."

Williamson remains committed to playing international cricket across all three formats, although his position in the T20 side may come under scrutiny as the team looks to rebuild following their group stage exit in the West Indies. "Naturally after major events, there are always different decisions that are made and you are always looking to bring different players through," he said. "But being part of this team is so dear to me and I want to remain in that community as long as I can, and as long as I'm offering value."




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Title: Williamson to take part in SA20 season 2 after opting out of NZ’s central contract

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