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Who can replace Williamson as New Zealand’s next white-ball skipper?

Last updated on 19 Jun 2024 | 12:14 PM
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Who can replace Williamson as New Zealand’s next white-ball skipper?

Now, with Kane Williamson announcing his decision to step down, we list out all possible replacement options

On June 19 (Wednesday), Kane Williamson stunned the entire world when he stepped down as New Zealand’s captain from both the white-ball formats. It was in the aftermath of a disastrous first-round exit for the Blackcaps, their first-ever in the T20 World Cup history. 

Out of the 74 matches Williamson has captained the national team, the Blackcaps have won 38 games, with a win % of 52. He was instrumental in New Zealand reaching the knockout stage in three consecutive editions, in 2016, 2021 and 2022. 

But now, with Williamson stepping down, who can replace him across formats?

Mitchell Santner

Previous captaincy experience: Matches 21, Wins 12, Losses 7, Win % 60; 

Mitchell Santner is the front-runner for the top job, considering he is the vice-captain in this current setup. The left-arm spinner has captained New Zealand in 21 matches, including one recently in February 2024 against Australia. 

The left-arm spinner has won 60% of the matches that he has led the team, and that certainly could be a big factor to consider. What works for him? Given that he is 32 and at the prime of his game, he will be the right choice to shoulder the responsibility. 

Devon Conway

Previous captaincy experience: Matches 2, Won 1, Loss 1, Win % 50 (Only T20s)

Devon Conway might have only made his New Zealand debut in 2020, but over the last four years, he has made himself undroppable across formats. The left-hander is one of the mainstays in New Zealand’s white-ball formats, with over 2500 runs, averaging close to 41. All of this could actually work in his favour. 

However, a few things could go against him, one being his fitness levels, with the left-hander missing quite a few games owing to injuries over the last year. Not just that, another factor could be his lack of experience as a leader, with two games both coming for Gauteng back in 2016.

Michael Bracewell

Previous captaincy experience: Matches 4, Won 2, Loss 1, NR 1, Win % 66.6 (T20Is); Matches 37, Won 24, Lost 12, NR 1, Win % 64.8 (T20s)

Michael Bracewell is 33 but that doesn’t mean he could be one of the front-runners for this New Zealand top job. Given that two of the next three ICC events (Champions Trophy and T20 World Cup) are in Asia, he could be an integral part of the Kiwi setup. 

He has already captained the Blackcaps in four matches, two of which they won. Even at the domestic level, Bracewell is quite an experienced campaigner, with 24 wins out of 37 matches. All of this certainly works in Bracewell’s favour. 

The only downside is that Bracewell’s place in the national team isn’t confirmed. So, in that case, making him a captain could be jeopardising for the team. 

Glenn Phillips

Previous captaincy experience: Nil

Glenn Phillips has never captained any T20 side before. But the 27-year-old could surely throw his ring in the hat, considering he’s an important member of the current Blackcaps setup. Phillips has already played 78 T20Is for the national team, where he has smashed two centuries. 

His fitness has never been a concern, and he has played every part of the world. All of this certainly works in his favour. But captaincy is a different kettle of fish and would be making someone like Phillips, a first-timer captain be too big an ocean to swim?

Daryl Mitchell

Previous captaincy experience: Match 1, Won 1, Win % 100 (T20s)

Daryl Mitchell, like Bracewell, is 33. Some might think that it is the wrong side of the 30s to become a national team captain, but Mitchell’s astute cricketing skills could help him. 

The all-rounder has only captained once in his entire career, when he led the Northern District side in a 2020 Super Smash encounter against Canterbury. He scored a 25-ball 40 in that clash, with four sixes to take them home in a last-over thriller. 

But the biggest thing that works against Mitchell is that he’s an all-format player, and New Zealand greatly benefit from his red-ball skills, so burdening him with captaincy could make the situation worse.

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