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NZ captain Williamson out of second Windies Test

December 10, 2020 11:53 IST
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Kane Williamson

IMAGE: New Zealand captain Kane Williamson returned home to be with his pregnant wife. Photograph: Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson has withdrawn from the second Test against West Indies and returned home to be with his pregnant wife, coach Gary Stead said on Thursday.

Tom Latham will take over the captaincy.

 

Williamson's availability for the Test, which starts on Friday, had been up in the air for much of the day when the team said he had returned to Tauranga to attend a medical appointment with his wife, Sarah.

Stead said after a lunchtime media conference that Williamson would return to the team and be available for the Test at the Basin Reserve but later issued a statement saying the skipper had withdrawn.

"Kane will return home," Stead said. "It's a decision we have come to around I guess the best interests for him and Sarah.

"He is not the first person to have a baby and miss a test match and ... our thoughts are that mother and baby are well looked after and Kane needs to be there to support them in that way."

Williamson, who scored a career-best 251 in the first match at Seddon Park in Hamilton, told reporters last week his wife was due to give birth to their first child "in mid-to-late December" and Stead had said the team supported him taking paternity leave.

Wicketkeeper BJ Watling returns to the side and Tom Blundell will move up to open the innings with Latham after he dropped down the order and took the gloves in Hamilton.

Will Young will replace Williamson while Devon Conway, who was brought in as batting cover, has been released to play for New Zealand 'A' in Nelson.

Steady rain in Wellington since the weekend meant the teams have not had a proper look at the pitch, but Stead said it was likely they would go with four pace bowlers again.

The only likely tossup decision to be made is whether all-rounder Daryl Mitchell or left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner takes the final spot.

"We will make that call when we see the wicket," Stead said.

"They are normally good wickets at the Basin and have good bounce and carry so hopefully if our seam bowlers bowl well they will have a big influence on the game."

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