Over the last year, a lot has been said about Kane Williamson, and most of that has revolved around his game in the shortest format. Despite being one of the best batters, a nagging elbow injury always forced Williamson to play with a lot of caution.
With growing talks of him leaving the shortest format, Williamson shocked one and all when he relinquished Test captaincy, with Tim Southee taking over as the leader of the pack. Williamson insisted that his decision of stepping down has indeed taken a lot off his plate, and has helped him channel the energy elsewhere.
"It's quite a natural thing to be engaged in the game but having said that it [the decision to step down as Test captain] has taken a little bit off my plate, which was a large part of the reason for making that decision,” Williamson told ESPNCricinfo.
“Often, it's the parts around it [captaincy], where you get a little bit more time back. I've always thought it was never a 'forever job', it requires a lot of energy, and I really enjoyed my time in that specific role. I do enjoy being involved in leadership, which is basically helping where I can."
However, Williamson is still playing an active role in the smooth transition of the leadership duties, and reckoned that it is still a change for him.
"Having said that, there's transition involved [of going from captain to just a player] without a doubt, there's perhaps less commitments off the field,” he added.
"It's still a change, something that I'm experiencing at the moment and working through. I'm fortunate to have a number of leaders in the New Zealand environment. And then to come here and have Hardik [Pandya] captaining the side, it's something I'm excited about as well."
One of the biggest worries for him last year was his elbow injury, something that threatened to cut short his career across all the formats. His subpar strike-rate at the IPL 2022 was a definite concern, leading to his exit from the Sunrisers Hyderabad, just a year after their project was envisioned under his leadership.
"Yeah, it was something that was improving slowly all the time, it was requiring management," he explains.
"It's a lot better now and it's not something that is restricting me in terms of training loads, playing and all those things. Although no injury is ideal and often injuries require time to heal, working through this was no different. It's nice to be back playing, training and not be burdened by it."