Williamson looks to crucial WTC advantage
New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson has declared himself fit for the upcoming Test series against South Africa that will be a part of the World Test Championship.
Presently at the third spot in the WTC25 points table, the Black Caps can gain significantly if they manage to do well against South Africa.
Despite the relative inexperience of the South African squad, which features seven uncapped players, Williamson believes that it would be a strong contest.
"We are under no illusions that it is going to be a tough contest for sure. They are all very good players and we just want to keep bringing the focus back to our cricket."
Following a weekend of thrilling Test match finishes, hear from Kane Williamson about what makes Test cricket so special to play. The first match of the Tegel Test Series against South Africa starts on Sunday at Bay Oval. Follow play LIVE in NZ with @TVNZ Duke and TVNZ+ #NZvSA pic.twitter.com/lyWMTabMsb
— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) February 1, 2024
Williamson added that New Zealand, who have never won a Test series against South Africa, will focus on playing their brand of cricket to gain crucial WTC points.
"Any win anywhere is crucial. That's why it is difficult to micro-manage a Test championship campaign.
"It's such a long period of time, and the games can come a bit sporadically with the Test cricket. So it's trying to just connect together as a group, and focus on the cricket that we want to play. That gives us the best chance [to win] and try and do that for long periods of time. That's the focus going into the series."
Williamson, who has had his fair share of injuries recently, is ready to feature in the upcoming two-Test encounter against South Africa.
Williamson missed out the final leg of the T20I series against Pakistan last month due to an injury to his right hamstring.
The issue was in the same leg in which he had suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament, an injury that had kept him out of cricketing action for almost six months in 2023.
However, the New Zealand captain is confident about his fitness now.
"My hamstring is good, it's progressed well in the last couple of weeks," Williamson added. "Feeling good, and looking forward to getting back to training and joining up with the team. The weather has been incredible.
"Extremely hot, so yes, I am confident. And like I said will just be nice to join back up with the side and I think all the guys are really looking forward to getting back together as a Test team."
Williamson's injury isn't the only concern in the New Zealand ranks. Kyle Jamieson is coming back off a lower back injury, while Tom Blundell is returning from a hamstring injury.
"I just saw them in the lunch room, and they looked comfortable eating well and I think they are fine.
"Obviously with these injuries, they can vary a lot from individual to individual and Tom with his hamstring took a little bit longer having tendon involved. I think he is good, rearing to go and Kyle bowled a spell a few days ago and I think got through nicely. I think everyone is fit and well."
New Zealand squad: Tim Southee, Tom Blundell, Devon Conway, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Will O'Rourke (second Test only), Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitch Santner, Neil Wagner, Kane Williamson, Will Young
February 4-8, First Test, Tauranga
February 13-17, Second Test, Hamilton