Kane Williamson – A diamond among the jewels trying hard to stand out!

Kane Williamson (Image source: Twitter)
Kane Williamson (Image source: Twitter)

Tauranga in New Zealand, though technically a suburb, is vastly identified as a major resort city, replete with serene beaches. Though among the things that sets Tauranga apart from more commercial hotspots in the sparsely populated country, such as Auckland and Dunedin or Christchurch is an interesting nickname that’s grown on both visitors as well as New Zealanders.

It’s called “The Mount!”

However, some also refer to it as “Bay of plenty.”

In cricketing context, all of this makes perfect sense ironing out any sort of irony especially when you think of one of the country’s most admired gifts to the sport – Kane Williamson.

For someone who’s just turned 31 and possesses a mountain of runs – nearly 14,000 – Tauranga, the Mount can be proud of Williamson, a man who wears plenty of hats, none of which sit on his head with arrogance.

In a game that can be ever divisive, given the divergent interest of the fans toward cricket’s formats and their love for teams or individual talents, perhaps it’s fair to remark that Kane Williamson is among the binding factors that unite fans instead of dividing them.

To a country that’s often described as everyone’s second-favourite team, whether Kane Williamson is a torchbearer of inspiration that commands respect from an Indian, Pakistani, Englishman or someone from the West Indies.

You can hurl abuse or suffer from verbal diarrhea in the wake of frustration when a well-set batsman refuses to leave the crease.

But would you ever sledge Kane Williamson?

There are batsmen who earn respect through sheer conduct and game awareness. Others do so by way of towering records. You’d put Younis Khan and Kallis in the first column and the likes of Lara, Kohli and Steve Smith in the latter.

Though only Kane Williamson would stand out having earned respect by doing both, perhaps finding alongside him someone like a Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar.

But the thing that makes Williamson – ever hungry for runs, ever unsatisfied with himself despite doing his best for New Zealand is just how sagely aloof he seems when the discussion surrounds the famous “Fab Four” of cricket.

It’s almost as if the mention of his name is merely accidental, though what he does on the pitch, which is magical and so elegant to not be anything but.

Where most batsmen struggle to touch 10,000 international runs well into their thirties, there stands Kane Stuart Williams with 15,208 runs (including all formats) collected with a sense of reassuring comfort and preciseness with which a craftsman completes a piece of home decor.

You know the one that all cast an eye upon but few can turn their eyes away from.

In an age where cricket is increasingly being painted by rhetoric having become rather accommodating giving space to talk surrounding a bowler’s hairstyle or a batsman’s penchant for a vegan meal, where the general chatter besides what’s the scoreboard saying also includes one’s fashion sense, Kane Williamson is a throwback to simplicity.

The fluffy facial hair isn’t borne out of a desire to cater to a trending fashion movement, but just what it is.

Someone who, with the curiosity of a driven student comes down the pitch, holds to an end, without ever drying up the runs, collects runs purposefully, touches milestones, whilst keeping the team above himself always and just goes back home.

No song or drama. No hype. You’ll not gain any brownie points to fill your fodder for tabloid journalism for Kane Williamson cannot actually offer any.

Of course, besides cricket and cricketing achievements alone.

No wild celebrations with the bat too, in order to prove something to the fans.

Heck, there’s never even been one, despite featuring in 85 Tests and 151 ODIs. Not once have we seen Williamson jumping in exasperation to paint a sight where the bat is particularly pointing to a selector or someone from the audience as if to settle some scores.

For there are some who seem settled and at peace with the universal oneness and the gratification cricket offers, for it’s all that they seek.

Two years back in the day, even if you weren’t a Kane Williamson fan, you became one, as if finding yourself transported in Kane’s world where there was bitingly aching pain and an insufferable despair having lost out on a World Cup title owing to his opposite team possessing a higher ‘boundary count.’

At a time where the last thing a cricketer would’ve been keen about was that customary handshake, Williamson went behind the mic and spent a few minutes appreciating how hard England played, congratulating them for their “well-deserved” victory.

It’s that old-world refinement and polish, so easily detectable whether in his career-best ODI knock of 148, which too came in the World Cup or the glowing but crafty 251 against the Windies in the First Test, that presents a man not spurred by hype but defined by purpose.

That the hard-hitting Martin Guptill is ageing and so is the supremely fit Ross Taylor, Kane Williamson has an onerous task of leading by example a fine class of young willow wielders such as Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Tom Blundell so that the next generation of New Zealanders can carve their own story.

And that Williamson, 37 centuries already, is doing a superb job at that, never once appearing interested in proving a point in the “Kohli vs who-is- the-other best-batsman debate,” augurs well for fans not just his immediate cricketing ecosystem.

It tells the next generation of New Zealanders that it’s the pitch and what happens between the 22 yards where one’s focus must belong.

Not on external shenanigans, fuelled often intentionally to drive traffic to websites and hits to platforms that call themselves journalistic in outlook doing little other than creating memes and hosting cliched polls.

As a matter of fact that it’s already been eleven years since Kane Williamson first held a cricket bat on the crease goes onto prove the point that how understated he really is.

And that he may actually end up being a little under-appreciated too would perhaps hurt, in the end, those fans who got caught up with shenanigans in an age where the purist finds himself caught up in cricketing views and philosophies that are too muddled up.

But who’s loss will it be anyway?

Not Williamson’s, for sure, who has so much to do still having turned 31 with, at least, if not more, half a decade of uplifting batting performances to deliver.

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