Every player cherishes batting in home conditions. But some of them exceed their limits, and Kane Williamson is undoubtedly one of them.
Irrespective of being a home or a visitor, conditions in New Zealand are challenging for a batter. Only a handful of batters have managed to ace the overhead conditions and the tricky surface. Despite all the difficulties, maintaining an average of close to 70 across 40+ matches is a testimony of Williamson's home greatness.
Apart from Australia (35.5) and India (38.1), Williamson has an average of 45+ against each other country. Against Bangladesh (144.3 in five innings), Sri Lanka (114.2 in 14 innings), South Africa (76.5 in 11 innings), and West Indies (72.6 in seven innings), he averages above 70.
Williamson at home is all about consistency. Of course, no one can match the creator of the word consistency in cricket, Sir Don Bradman. But Williamson might be the closest batter with god-level consistency in home Tests.
In 48% of the innings at home, 36 out of 75, Williamson scored 50+ runs. Among batters who have scored 3000+ runs at home, only Sir Don has scored 50+ runs in 50+% of the innings at home. Also, in terms of average, Williamson's 68.1 is second-best after Sir Don's (98.2).
By just getting to a half-century, the average won't increase, but it is about the conversion. Out of the 36 scores of over 50, Williamson has a 50% conversion rate from 50 to 100. He has scored a century every 4.2 innings at home. Among batters with 3000+ runs, only Sir Don (2.8) has hit with better frequency.
In a calendar year, limited games are played in New Zealand. Hence, never has Williamson played more than seven games at home. To be precise, only twice in 13 years has he played more than five home Tests. Williamson has ensured to capitalize on those chances to score big in the limited opportunities. Only in four of those 13 years, Williamson has averaged below 50.
Irrespective of matches, Williamson averages 100+ across four years. Only four batters in history have averaged 100+ across four years at home. Sir Don is the only one to achieve this feat in five different years. Greg Chappell and Javed Miandad are the other two, alongside Williamson with four.
Post COVID times, that is, since July 2020, Williamson has been a different beast at home. He has batted 13 innings while scoring 1345 runs at a staggering average of 112.1. The right-hander has converted each of his eight half-centuries into a hundred. Adding to that, he has three double centuries. An average of 112 in 13 innings, phew!!
How has he fared at home in comparison with the Fab 4?
While talking about Williamson, how can we conclude without comparing the other three batters among the Fab 4?
All four players have been exceptional batters at home. While Williamson averages the highest, Steve Smith (62.7) stands second, followed by Virat Kohli (60.04) and then Joe Root (53.4). But all these batters have been very different in the post-COVID era.
Smith and Kohli have seen a massive decline at home. While Root has bettered himself, Williamson has taken his home game to an unreachable level. Before the COVID break, Smith averaged a whopping 71.1 at home in 57 innings. On the other hand, Kohli averaged 68.4 in 60 innings. Root was the only batter to average below Williamson. All the other three had more home centuries than Williamson did.
In fact, Williamson has been so good in home Tests that his average has never dropped below 40 in any of his 15-inning phases. Especially in the last 15-inning phase, when each of the other three batters has seen a steep decline, Williamson's graph has just taken off like a rocket.
With a twin century against South Africa in the first Test, Williamson now has 31 Test tons, the second-most behind Smith (32). Post-COVID, Williamson has scored a century in seven of his eight home matches.
To summarize, do not judge Williamson by his physical appearance. He might be the shortest of all the four, but the man has a gargantuan appetite for scoring runs at home.
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