T20 World Cup: Williamson Rejects NZ Central Contract, Relinquishes White-Ball Captaincy

New Zealand, one of the pre-tournament favourites, failed to reach the Super 8 stage of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024. Captain Kane Williamson could manage only 28 runs in four innings

Kane Williamson, New Zealand Cricket, X Photo
Kane Williamson has rejected a new contract offer from NZC. Photo: X/ImTanujSingh

Kane Williamson jolted New Zealand cricket on Wednesday, June 19 by stating that he won't accept a new central contract for the 2024-25 season. However, the former Test captain has reaffirmed that he remains committed to NZ cricket despite the decision. (T20 World Cup Coverage | More Cricket News)

Williamson als stepped down as the country's white-ball captain.

The 33-year-old has admitted that he wants to play overseas leagues during the New Zealand summer and therefore won't be available to play for the national team in this time period.

"Helping push the team forward across the formats is something I'm very passionate about and something I want to keep contributing towards," Williamson said in a statement released on New Zealand Cricket's website.

"However, pursuing an overseas opportunity during the New Zealand summer means I'm unable to accept a central contract offer.

"Playing for New Zealand is something I treasure, and my desire to give back to the team remains undiminished. My life outside cricket has changed however - spending more time with my family and enjoying experiences with them at home or abroad is something that's even more important to me."

NZC chief executive Scott Weenink admitted that the move was favourable for both sides.

“This is a good way to help keep Kane in the international game so that he continues to play a major role for the Black Caps — both now and in the years to come,” Weenink said in a statement.

“We have very little international cricket in New Zealand through January and outside that period he’s still available for the Black Caps.

“NZC has a strong preference to select centrally contracted players for the Black Caps, however we’re happy to make an exception for our greatest ever batter – especially as he remains so committed to the team.

“I know it sounds a bit counterintuitive, but I’m very encouraged by this development.”

Williamson, who has led his side in all the three formats, scored 18,128 runs in international cricket and has registered 44 centuries since his international debut in 2010 for the Kiwis.

The BlackCaps were eliminated from the T20 World Cup after losing to the West Indies and Afghanistan in the group stage.

Apart from Williamson, fast bowler Lockie Ferguson has also declined a central contract from the New Zealand cricket board.