Williamson to be available for Christchurch Test
Kane Williamson is expected to be available for the first Test against Sri Lanka at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch, starting Thursday, skipper Tim Southee confirmed. The New Zealand batter, who is currently at home to mourn the death of his grandmother, will join the squad at the last minute.
Speaking on Tuesday, ahead of the two-match Test series, Southee said, “On behalf of the team, I think everyone is feeling for Kane at the moment and he is in the best place he can be. And that is with, in and around, his family. It is a sad time for the Williamson family.”
“We are looking forward to Kane joining up. He has been able to train with the ND guys in Tauranga, so I am sure he will be hitting plenty of balls and making sure he is ready to go come Thursday.”
Williamson had played a key role in New Zealand’s series-levelling one-run win over England last week, scoring a century and becoming the highest run-getter in Tests for his country in the process. Meanwhile, Southee also said that the win over England in the second Test has done a great deal to popularise Test cricket in the country.
“It has been great to have the amount of people who have been talking about Test cricket, to see the Basin Reserve filled for five days was great to be a part of,” Southee said.
“I think, just in general, the guys are pleased to see people talking about Test cricket. And Test cricket being exciting. England have played their part in that, over the last year or so. The guys still see Test cricket as the pinnacle of the game.”
However, he added that the high of the victory will have to be shifted to the background and the focus has to move on to the new tourists, who need a cleansweep – and for India to lose or draw the Ahmedabad Test against Australia – in order to qualify for the World Test Championship final.
“It is a match that will be talked about for a long time, but they are a very humble group. Now our focus will shift to Sri Lanka,” Southee said.