Sachin Tendulkar Hails Kane Williamson, Tim Southee as 'Torchbearers' of New Zealand Cricket

Sachin Tendulkar Hails Kane Williamson, Tim Southee as ‘Torchbearers’ of New Zealand Cricket

Cricket legends Sachin Tendulkar has hailed Kane Williamson and Tim Southee as the “torchbearers” of New Zealand cricket after the Kiwi duo reached the milestone of playing 100 Test matches. Tendulkar, in a social media post, noted that it was “fitting” that both Williamson and Southee played their 100th Test match together, 16 years after they played in the 2008 U19 World Cup.

Southee and Williamson became just the fifth and sixth Black Caps players to reach the milestone of 100 Test matches. The two Blackcaps veterans were teammates at the ICC Men’s U19 Cricket World Cup in 2008, where the team reached the semi-finals before losing to eventual champions, India.

Southee had already made his senior international debut a few weeks before the U19 World Cup, in the T20I format. He would go on to make his Test debut within a year. Williamson, on the other hand, had to wait until 2010 to make his Test debut, but since made rapid strides across formats to evolve into one of New Zealand’s greatest-ever batters.

Williamson has 8675 runs in Tests, well ahead of Ross Taylor, the next best for New Zealand, and averages 55.25 in the format. No other active player has more Test hundreds than Williamson’s 32. Southee, meanwhile, has 378 Test wickets and is just over 50 wickets away from eclipsing Richard Hadlee’s tally for most Test wickets by a Kiwi bowler.

Tendulkar, in his social media post, praised Williamson and Southee for their contributions to New Zealand cricket. “Kane Williamson and Tim Southee have been the torchbearers of New Zealand cricket ever since they burst onto the scene at the 2008 U-19 World Cup,” Tendulkar wrote. “It is only fitting that they also play their 100th Test match together around 16 years later. All the very best to them for their landmark match against familiar foes Australia.”

Kane Williamson Set for 100th Test, Recalls Surreal Debut Against Indian Legends

Kane Williamson Set for 100th Test, Recalls Surreal Debut Against Indian Legends

Kane Williamson, the star New Zealand batter, is set to play his 100th Test match, a milestone that has him reflecting on his journey and the surreal experience of his debut against India in 2010.

Williamson, now 33, vividly recalls the awe he felt when he walked out to bat in Ahmedabad, surrounded by legendary Indian cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, and VVS Laxman.

“I remember walking out and looking around the field and seeing all my heroes,” Williamson said. “I used to love playing backyard cricket as a youngster, and all those guys were in that team that I would try and select.”

“It was Tendulkar and Laxman and Dravid, and it was kind of like, ‘How am I here? I’d better start watching the ball and try and compete.'”

Despite the intimidating presence of the Indian greats, Williamson made a memorable debut, scoring 131 in New Zealand’s first innings. He credits that experience with shaping his approach to the game.

“It was quite surreal,” he said. “I remember being quite eager to try and get into the opposition’s dressing room and chat to some of those guys if I could.”

Over the past decade, Williamson has established himself as one of the world’s leading batters, amassing 8675 runs at an average of 55.25, including 32 centuries and 33 fifties. He has also led New Zealand to the World Test Championship title in 2021.

Reflecting on his journey, Williamson emphasized the importance of continuous learning and improvement.

“Then a few grey hairs later and (after) a number of different experiences over that time, there’s not been many days – probably any – where I haven’t tried to improve and get better as a player,” he said.

“It’s never a perfect journey. You go through so much. The format of Test cricket in particular really takes you through that. The learning – physically, (and) mentally – the reflection, (and) the memories of almost every Test that when you sit down and dissect it, there’s so much that you do recall.”

Williamson’s 100th Test match will be a special occasion for him and for New Zealand cricket. It is a testament to his longevity, skill, and dedication to the game.

Joe Root Surges to No. 2 in ICC Test Batting Rankings

Joe Root Surges to No. 2 in ICC Test Batting Rankings

Joe Root has ascended to the No. 2 spot in the ICC Test batting rankings, trailing only New Zealand’s Kane Williamson. This surge follows Steven Smith’s recent dip in form, which saw him fall below 800 points for the first time since 2014.

Root’s resurgence, marked by a century against India in Ranchi last month, has been the primary beneficiary of Smith’s decline. Since assuming the role of Australia’s Test opener, Smith has struggled, posting scores of 31 and 0 in the first Test against New Zealand in Wellington.

Smith’s teammate Marnus Labuschagne, another former No. 1-ranked batter, has also fallen out of the top ten for the first time since December 2019. His meager total of three runs in the same match has contributed to his slide. Travis Head, who achieved a career-best ranking of No. 2 during last year’s Ashes, has also slipped to No. 12 after twin scores of 1 and 29.

Head’s decline has paved the way for three Indian batters to rise in the rankings. Yashaswi Jaiswal has broken into the top ten for the first time, amassing 665 runs in the ongoing series against England. Rohit Sharma follows closely at No. 11, while Virat Kohli climbs one place to No. 8 despite missing the series due to the recent birth of his child.

Cameron Green has been the most significant climber in the batting rankings this week. His match-winning 174 not out in Australia’s first innings at Wellington has propelled him 22 places to 23rd position, a career-best tally of 661 points.

Williamson, with 870 points, maintains a comfortable lead over Root (799) at the top of the rankings. His remarkable run of seven centuries in his last eight Tests has solidified his dominance.

On the bowling front, Nathan Lyon’s 10-wicket match haul against New Zealand has elevated him two places to No. 6 in the rankings, just two points shy of his career-best tally at Edgbaston last year. Glenn Phillips, New Zealand’s offspinning allrounder, has made significant gains on both the batting and bowling fronts, while Matt Henry has climbed into the top 20 for the first time after taking eight wickets in the match.

Ireland’s historic Test victory against Afghanistan in Abu Dhabi has also impacted the rankings. Mark Adair’s eight wickets in the match have moved him up 30 slots to 69th position on the bowling charts, while Andy Balbirnie, Curtis Campher, Paul Stirling, and Andy McBrine have all moved into the top 100 in the batting rankings. Hashmatullah Shahidi has gained five places to reach 81st position among the batters, while Naveed Zadran has moved up 32 places to 79th among the bowlers.

Overseas Stars Set to Light Up The Hundred Draft

Overseas Stars Set to Light Up The Hundred Draft

The Hundred draft, scheduled for March 20, promises an exciting pool of overseas players, including David Warner, Kane Williamson, Meg Lanning, and Smriti Mandhana. Warner, previously absent from the competition, is now available for £100,000, while Williamson, who missed the first season due to injury, can be acquired for £75,000.

In the women’s draft, Mandhana joins Ashleigh Gardner, Jemimah Rodrigues, and Deepti Sharma as the top-priced players at £50,000. Lanning, who has also withdrawn in the past, is available for £40,000, alongside Beth Mooney and Annabel Sutherland. India’s contingent includes Richa Ghosh, Renuka Singh, and Shikha Pandey.

The men’s draft features seven players in the £125,000 bracket, including Sunil Narine, Nicholas Pooran, Josh Inglis, and Daryl Mitchell. Kieron Pollard, Shamar Joseph, Sikandar Raza, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, and Naseem Shah are all priced at £100,000.

Notable England players in the draft include Jason Roy, Dawid Malan, Ollie Pope, Amy Jones, and Lauren Filer. Malan, a winner with Trent Rockets in 2022, expressed his enthusiasm for the competition. Sri Lanka’s Chamari Athapaththu, the Player of the Tournament in the recent WBBL, is also eager to join the Hundred.

The draft will be held at the Shard in London and broadcast live on YouTube, TikTok, and the Hundred website. Birmingham Phoenix will have the first pick in the women’s draft, while Northern Superchargers will start the men’s draft.

Ashwin Reflects on Challenges and Opponents Ahead of 100th Test

Ashwin Reflects on Challenges and Opponents Ahead of 100th Test

Ravichandran Ashwin, the veteran Indian off-spinner, is on the cusp of a significant milestone as he prepares for his 100th Test match. Reflecting on his illustrious career, Ashwin has expressed his admiration for some of the finest batters he has encountered, both domestically and internationally.

Ashwin singled out Steve Smith, Kane Williamson, and Joe Root as the most formidable opponents he has faced. “I have loved bowling to Steve Smith, Williamson, and Joe Root. They are some of the finest batters going around the world now,” he said.

The 37-year-old spinner acknowledged that his domestic experiences also played a crucial role in his development. “I had the privilege of bowling to some of the gun batters of spin in first-class cricket,” he said, naming S Badrinath, Mithun Manhas, and Rajat Bhatia as players who helped him hone his skills.

Ashwin’s journey to the international stage was not solely based on his white-ball prowess. “I had a good 30-40 matches in first-class cricket before I made it to the Indian team,” he emphasized.

Despite his success in limited-overs cricket, Ashwin remains committed to club cricket. “I played 3-4 years of club cricket in Chennai, probably mentored by seniors, told where I made mistakes, corrected my discipline, bowled long spells,” he said.

Ashwin’s Test debut came in 2011, and he has since become one of India’s most successful bowlers in the format. He recently became only the second Indian after Anil Kumble to cross 500 wickets in Tests.

“A lot of things need to go your way when you have to get a breakthrough and also continue playing for so many years. I am indebted for all those things,” he said.

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