What’s the story?
New Zealand batting coach, Craig McMillan has said that New Zealand captain, Kane Williamson, is the best No. 3 batsman in the world. He also believes that New Zealand have “the best in the world” in their captain.
“I think he’s the best No. 3 in the world,” said McMillan. “The reality is that when you bat at No. 3, you can be an opener, new-ball bowlers are fresh in difficult conditions. Kane is very mentally strong around that, it’s a position he enjoys so I don’t see any point at all in tweaking that,” added the New Zealand coach.
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McMillan spoke after New Zealand ended their third day against South Africa with an embarrassing defeat at the Basin Reserve. One of the reasons for New Zealand’s failure against South Africa is the form of Kiwi opener, Tom Latham.
His poor form in the series included a string of poor scores of 10, 8 and 6 runs in the two Tests, and 4, 7, 0, 0, 2 and a 0 in the one-day matches. Another concern in the batting is the absence of Ross Taylor due to a minor calf muscle tear.
The heart of the matter
In the first Test, Williamson scored a splendid century which took him to the No. 2 spot in the batting ranking. The longest the captain had to wait to come to the crease was an average of 16.1 overs.
Williamson's record at No. 3 has been incredible and backs the statement made by McMillan. In his 109 innings, the New Zealand captain he has batted 90 innings at the No. 3 position and has scored 4346 runs at an average of 53.65. With such impressive numbers, he is the ninth most prolific No. 3 of all-time.
The third and the final Test match between New Zealand and South Africa is scheduled on 25th of March at the Seddon Park stadium, Hamilton. Though there was a possibility of Taylor returning for the Hamilton Test, McMillan has said that he will be not ushered in unless he is not completely fit.
The Kiwis struggled in the sub-continent against India in spinning tracks but the fact that their humiliating loss came at home will be a major concern for the Kiwis. The onus and the weight of expectations could have an effect on Williamson’s performance, hence the other New Zealand batsman have to step up and make a contribution.