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My priority is playing for New Zealand, even though SA20 is exciting: Kane Williamson

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Wellington, Jun 20 (PTI) Kane Williamson said the intention to play in next year’s SA20 was the catalyst behind him declining the New Zealand central contract, but reaffirmed his commitment to play for his country in all three formats outside of the T20 league.

The SA20 is scheduled between January 9 and February 8, 2025, which clashes with the dates of the Super Smash in New Zealand.

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As per NZ rules, a player has to play in Super Smash if they are not on an international assignment to be eligible for a central contract.

“I want to play as long as I can. There’s a number of great competitions during that time, but SA20 looks really exciting. Unfortunately, it meant turning down a central contract,” Williamson told reporters upon his arrival in New Zealand from the T20 World Cup, where his side failed to enter the Super Eight stage.

Consequently, Williamson had also stepped down from the Kiwis’ captaincy in white-ball formats but the elegant right-hander insisted that his international career was far from over.

“My priority still is, absolutely, playing for New Zealand. Think I might miss maybe a handful of games over a three-week period,” he added.

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It meant that Williamson would miss the ODI and T20I series against Sri Lanka in January next year.

But he will be available for the one-off Test against Afghanistan in September, besides the WTC matches against India and Sri Lanka away and the three-match series against England at home.

“It’s simply the contract, the rules that currently exist meant I wasn’t able to have one but in terms of playing for New Zealand I’m not missing almost any cricket really, so that was important to me,” he said.

Williamson said he was eagerly waiting to see how the leadership role of New Zealand evolves in white ball formats.

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“I’ve really, really enjoyed my time captaining and it’s been a privilege and an honour to do that for a number of years.

“I’m excited with what’s next for the team in terms of the leadership as well and looking forward to being part of that,” he added.

The 33-year-old also did not attach any time-frame to his career, saying he was taking it one year at a time.

“In terms of a timeframe, it’s difficult to say. I want to keep being fit, doing as well as I can, keep trying to improve. All major events and key series are things that whet the appetite and are an exciting prospect.

“But being part of this team is so dear to me and I want to remain in that community as long as I can, and as long as I’m offering value,” he said.

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The Hills Timeshttps://www.thehillstimes.in/
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