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Indian Premier League 2023: Kane Williamson Feels Leadership Positions May Be Coming Shubman Gill's Way

Williamson also spoke about the newly-introduced 'Impact Player' rule, saying it will bring different dynamics to the game and change the way a team decides its playing XI.

Kane Williamson interacts with Shubman Gill during GT's team practice session.
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New Zealand's batting mainstay Kane Williamson sees leadership roles for India and Gujarat Titans batter Shubman Gill in the future, calling him a "special player". (More Cricket News)

Williamson said it was a matter of time before he blossomed on the international scene.

"He had an incredible year, but you could always see that it was only a matter of time, the quality that he has, and that we have seen for a few years now," Williamson said on Wednesday.

"And just to have those experiences that you need to have as a young, extremely talented player and really put it together on the international stage and endorsed obviously in the IPL as well, like I say, it was a matter of time."

Asked if he looks at Gill as a future leader, the New Zealander responded in the positive.

"Yeah, most probably, I've only really just seen Shubman, played against them for a few years. And you could see the quality that he has, he's a really strong competitor as well.

"So I'm sure he would be learning a lot from a number of leaders that he's been able to play under for a few years. He has a great understanding of the game. So, I suppose naturally, there might be leadership positions that might come his way." 
     
EXCITED ABOUT IPL'S NEW 'IMPACT PLAYER' RULE

Williamson is excited to see how the newly-introduced 'Impact Player' rule pans out, saying it will bring different dynamics to the game and change the way a team decides its playing XI.

Under the 'Impact Player' rule, a batter or bowler can be replaced in the middle of the game as per the match situation, to make it more exciting.

"It's quite a different dynamic. And often, when you're picking teams, you're always sort of weighing up one role or another. And yet, you kind of shape your side a certain way that having the ability to bring in an impact player kind of changes that a little bit," he told reporters.

"I guess it's all pretty new ground for everybody. So getting a feel for it, getting used to it, and sort of seeing how that pans out in terms of, how you shape, what you do as a side will be quite interesting to see.

"It's a rule that all teams are going to try and use to their advantage, to the best of their ability. So it will be pretty interesting to see how it goes."

According to the new playing conditions, the captains of IPL teams can name their playing XI after the toss instead of handing over team sheets before the spin of the coin.

"It's different, it's changed there. I think every team will be trying to get their head around what it might look like and what sort of advantage they can get from making some good decisions around it.

"And we'll have to see throughout the season, how that plays out, but the intention is to I suppose... it's stacking teams a little bit more and trying to keep improving the product. So it'll be interesting to see how it plays out."

Williamson had captained Sunrisers Hyderabad to the finals in 2018 after replacing David Warner. However, he was sacked from the post after a poor season last year and was also not retained by the franchise. Last December, Williamson also quit captaincy of his national side.

"It (quitting captaincy) certainly doesn't switch the cricketing brain off. Like when you're out there on in the field, you're trying to do as much as you can for the team and whether that's assisting where you can or if you're called upon for your ideas.

"But having said that, it has taken a little bit off my plate which was a large part of the reason for making the decision back home and often it's the parts around it where you get a little bit more time back."

When asked if he sees himself leading a side again, Williamson said: "Leadership or captaincy is a position that I've been involved in over a number of years but it's not something that I have to have.

"It's nice to mix it up as well. Done it for a long time. And I'm excited to be here and I'm playing under Hardik as I have been playing under Tim in the Test format in New Zealand. So yeah, I guess we'll see what happens in the future."

HARDIK IS A WORLD-CLASS PLAYER

Williamson heaped praise on Hardik Pandya, who had guided GT to a title win in their first season.

"Hardik is a world-class player. I have played against him for a number of years. He had an incredible season as a player and a leader and I am excited to play under him.

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"Last year was a fantastic year for the franchise and this year is another opportunity as a team to bond. Every team changes slightly each year. And you never quite know who's going to win. You'll have favourites, but, at the end of the day, any team can beat anybody. 

"So the sides are fully aware of that and having the experience of last year I'm sure they'll be trying to take some of those learnings forward and, and put out better performances throughout the season."

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