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Craig McMillan hails Kane Williamson as best number 3 batsman

McMillan has also backed Tom Latham to come good in the final Test of the series.

Kane Williamson of New Zealand
Kane Williamson of New Zealand. (Photo by Dianne Manson/Getty Images)

Team New Zealand batting coach Craig McMillan reckons that the current Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson is the best number 3 batsman in the world at the moment. The team suffered a defeat in the Wellington Test against the Proteas recently and are now focusing on getting things right for the third and final Test that begins on Saturday. The hosts certainly have a lot to ponder about before they get to the drawing board for the match.

The bowling has failed to fire in and the batting display has been nothing short of being unimpressive. The solitary bright spot for the New Zealand side in the ongoing Test series has been the batting form of their captain Kane Williamson. The batting coach, Craig McMillan, is very much aware of this fact and hence was in all praise for the top Kiwi player.

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He noted that Williamson is mentally very strong and that aids him to absorb pressure that a usual number three batsman has to endure. He also cited that the position is a key position since the player needs to equally potent against pacers and spinners.

As per the quotes in ESPNcricinfo, Craig McMillan quoted, “I think he’s the best No. 3 in the world. The reality is that when you bat at No. 3 you can be an opener, new-ball bowlers are fresh in difficult conditions. Kane is very mentally strong around that, it’s a position he enjoys so I don’t see any point at all in tweaking that.”

Just to validate the facts putforth by McMillan, here are some stats. Williamson has played 90 out of his 109 Test innings at the number 3 slot since 2011. He has scored 4346 runs at an average of 53.65.

Another key concern for the Kiwis this season has been the form of Tom Latham. Barring a ton against Bangladesh in December 2016, Latham has struggled at home this season. He has only 24 runs in 3 innings to his name in the ongoing Test series against South Africa.

Talking about him, the batting coach quoted, “Tom’s obviously going through a tough patch but we know what a quality player he is, and has been for a number of years. It’s about him getting back to basics. One of his decisions was poor, to drive when it wasn’t full enough to drive, and he acknowledged that. We need to get him back to making those good decisions and everything else will flow from there.”