Cricket: Kane Williamson rises to number one in world test batting rankings

Black Caps captain Kane Williamson’s year has ended with yet another high after claiming top spot in the world test batting rankings.

Williamson scored 150 runs in his two innings in the Black Caps’ nail-biting first test win over Pakistan, enough to vault him past India’s Virat Kohli and Australia’s Steve Smith into first place on the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) ladder.

It is the second time Williamson has achieved the feat – the last time he held the rank was in 2015 – which comes the same week he was named by the ICC to its test “Team of the Decade”.

Since making his debut for New Zealand in November 2010, Williamson has amassed one of the finest records of any Black Caps; scoring 23 centuries at an average of 52.90 in 82 matches – 34 of those as captain.

Williamson was characteristically humble when speaking of the double honour, passing on credit to the players he has both followed and led in his time with the team.

“It feels surreal to be on there. However, I believe that it’s a bit of a team reward to be honest … it wouldn’t mean much without the contributions and the efforts from all the other players that you play alongside for such a long period of time that give you the motivation and drive to want to try and move the teams forward that you’re involved in,” Williamson said.

“There’s also so many people along the way that have gone into trying to help me as a player and as a person and I want to thank all of them.”

On overtaking the likes of Kohli and Smith – controversially named the best test batsman of the decade – Williamson was once again coy, suggesting his new ranking was loaded with some luck.

“For me to sneak up, perhaps, in some way is very surprising and humbling but at the same time I think there’s other rankings somewhere that quite clearly state the successes of these other two. Year in and year out those two players, in all formats, are moving the game forward.”

However, Black Caps fans will be well aware of the cold, hard facts behind Williamson’s rise to the top and will no doubt be backing him as he attempts to lead New Zealand to the top of the team rankings next week; where a second win over Pakistan will take them there for the first time.

As the supremely-focused Williamson puts it: “There’s still a lot of cricket to go.”

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