Can Kane Williamson crack the overseas code?

Can Kane Williamson crack the overseas code?

There are still some lands that are left to be conquered for Kane Williamson if he wants to etch his name in the pantheon of batting greats to have worn the whites.

Kane Williamson
Kane Williamson. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Everybody loves Kane Williamson. The New Zealand batting maestro has piled up excellent numbers in the Test format, and is the talisman of the New Zealand batting lineup, especially in the longest format of the game. Williamson has plundered 7129 runs in Test cricket and has scored his runs at an excellent average of 53.60.

Moreover, there is not a single negative thing that anybody has to say about Williamson, regarding his conduct on the field as well as off the field. Both his teammates as well as his opponents respect him. He does not indulge in any over-the-top celebrations and goes about his business in a mellifluous manner.

So, is everything perfect with Williamson? Or are there some chinks that even a batsman of the stature of Williamson has to iron out from his batting arsenal?

Kane Williamson’s poor run in Overseas Tests in Recent Times

Kane Williamson
Kane Williamson. (Photo by MICHAEL BRADLEY/AFP via Getty Images)

In the first Test match against England at Lord’s, the New Zealand skipper failed to get going in both innings. While Williamson was cleaned up by James Anderson in the first innings, he was caught plumb in front of the stumps in the second innings by Ollie Robinson. He could aggregate only 14 runs in both the innings put together in the 1st Test against England.

In fact, Williamson has had a torrid run with the willow in recent times in overseas Tests. In the table below, let us take a look at Williamson’s run of scores in his last 9 overseas Test innings.

Innings No Start Date of Test Opposition Venue Runs Scored Balls Faced
1 14th August 2019 Sri Lanka Galle 0 3
2 14th August 2019 Sri Lanka Galle 4 25
3 22nd August 2019 Sri Lanka Colombo 20 28
4 12th December 2019 Australia Perth 34 70
5 12th December 2019 Australia Perth 14 8
6 26th December 2019 Australia Melbourne 9 14
7 26th December 2019 Australia Melbourne 0 9
8 2nd June 2021 England Lord’s 13 33
9 2nd June 2021 England Lord’s 1 19

STRUGGLE. Well, that is not the word that should ideally be used to describe the state of affairs for a player of the stature of Williamson. But then, the batting legend has had a really rough ride in recent times in overseas Test matches. Williamson has not even crossed the 40-run mark in his last 9 overseas Test innings, and he has also been dismissed for a single-digit score in 5 out of his last 9 innings as well.

These are surely testing times for the New Zealand batting behemoth.

Kane Williamson’s Numbers in Tests played in every Country

Kane Williamson
Kane Williamson. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Now, let us go ahead and analyze the numbers generated by Kane Williamson in every country that he has played Test cricket in. The table below will reflect the same.

Country Innings Runs Average 100s 50s
Australia 14 557 42.85 2 1
Bangladesh 3 250 83.33 1 2
England 10 261 26.10 1 1
India 13 461 35.46 1 3
New Zealand 66 3788 65.31 13 18
South Africa 7 127 21.17 0 1
Sri Lanka 7 187 26.71 1 0
United Arab Emirates 11 647 64.70 2 2
West Indies 10 462 51.33 2 1
Zimbabwe 5 389 97.25 1 3

The above table is a highly revealing one. While Williamson has found success in places like Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates, West Indies, Zimbabwe and of course his home country New Zealand, he has been found wanting in places that really Test a batsman’s capability.

In England, the New Zealand batting gladiator averages a paltry 26.10. He has had an even poor run in the land of the Proteas, where he has scored just 127 runs in 7 innings at an average of 21.17. In Sri Lanka too, Williamson averages just 26.71.

He has accumulated decent numbers in India and has scored 461 runs in 13 innings at a respectable average of 35.46. Also, in the 51 innings that Williamson has played in Australia, England, India, Sri Lanka, and South Africa put together, he has scored just 5 centuries, which means that he takes an average of 10.2 innings to score a Test century in these countries.

On the other hand, Williamson has managed to score 6 centuries in just 29 innings in Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates, West Indies, and Zimbabwe put together, which translates to a three-figure score once every 4.83 innings.

Also, a comparison of Williamson’s numbers with the other three members of the celebrated Fab Four (read Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, and Joe Root) will help us draw further insights.

Indian batting talisman Virat Kohli averages less than 35 in just one out of the 8 countries that he has played Test cricket in. England skipper Joe Root too averages below 35 in only one out of the 9 countries that he has wielded the willow. Australian batting behemoth Steve Smith has accumulated even better numbers.

Smith averages above 40 in 8 out of the 9 countries that he has batted, and averages above 50 in 5 countries as well. It is clear that the likes of Kohli, Smith and Root have been more consistent in a wide range of places as compared to Williamson.

In The End

Kane Williamson will continue to lead New Zealand’s charge in Test match cricket with the willow and there are no two ways about it. But then, if Williamson has to etch his name in the pantheon of batting greats to have worn the whites in the most challenging format of the game, there are some lands that are left for him to conquer.

Williamson is only 30 years old and will surely get more opportunities in the future to once again wield his willow in these seemingly unconquerable lands. Can the master emerge triumphant? Can Williamson crack the overseas code and emerge victorious?