With Kane Williamson’s partner Sarah Raheem due to give birth to their first child later this month, the New Zealand captain might have to take paternity leave. The team will be perfectly fine with that, with Gary Stead, the coach, saying that sometimes “other things are much more important” than cricket, and if Williamson misses some matches, so be it.
Speaking a day after New Zealand wrapped up an innings-and-134-run win over West Indies in the first of their two Tests, Stead said, “Worst case scenario, Kane misses some matches. As a dad, as a parent, you only get that opportunity once in your life to be there for your (first) child’s birth and I know that it’s important for Kane too. At the end of the day, we play cricket, and other things are much more important. And that is much more important.”
The second Test against West Indies will start on December 11, and once that series gets over, New Zealand host Pakistan for three T20Is and two Tests from December 18. If Williamson does miss some of those games, Will Young, who made his international debut in the first Test – and scored 5 in the team’s 519 for 7 declared in their only innings – will be the “natural replacement”, Stead said.
Looking back at the big win in Hamilton, Stead pointed out that the emergence of some players, Kyle Jamieson in particular, had made life easier for the team management. “With Colin (de Grandhomme) not being available, it (Jamieson’s all-round performance) gave us some potential to look at things in a different way,” Stead said. “Kyle Jamieson’s batting has really come on and whilst it’s not in the Colin de Grandhomme category now, I guess it’s something that we hope for that he will keep striving towards being there in the future.
“(It was) a very clinical performance throughout, when you lose the toss and get inserted… there’s always a few nerves about how much the wicket will do. I thought the pitch played really well throughout – it kept good bounce throughout and that was pleasing for us.”
The win, inside four days, was set up by Williamson, who scored a Test-best 251 to lead the New Zealand batting charge. “Kane’s innings was obviously very special. I think he showed his skill, his temperament, his patience all in one innings,” Stead said. “Our partnerships the guys built around with Kane was the reason we got up to the score we did and put us in a position of strength.”