Williamson knows improvement in T20 needed

I CAN DO IT: Kane Williamson wants to play T20 cricket.
I CAN DO IT: Kane Williamson wants to play T20 cricket.

Kane Williamson wants to be part of the New Zealand squad to contest the Twenty20 in Bangladesh starting in March.

But he also knows he needs to improve his skills in the game's shortest format after being omitted from the New Zealand squad for the two-match series against the West Indies.

Williamson and veteran seamer Kyle Mills have been left out of the 14-man Black Caps squad that has contested the one-day series against the Windies which wound up in Hamilton today for the two T20 matches in Auckland on Saturday and Wellington next Wednesday.

The pair will instead play in the domestic Twenty20 competition, with the duo set to go head-to-head in Hamilton on Friday night, when Williamson's Northern Knights hosts Mills' Auckland Aces at Seddon Park in a crucial round-robin encounter.

New Zealand will have a squad of just 12 players for the two Twenty20 games. Their batting will be based around the big-hitting of Jesse Ryder, Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum and Corey Anderson, leaving no room for Williamson's more cultured approach.

The 23-year-old has played just 13 T20 internationals, averaging 22.88 with a strike-rate of 118.39.

"For T20, my focuses are wanting to improve in that area and ultimately be playing all three formats," Williamson said.

"But I do recognise there is room for improvement there. It's kind of been tough in some ways because you're away so much with the international duties that you struggle to play even domestic Twenty20s at times."

New Zealand Cricket selection boss Bruce Edgar said the selectors wanted to take a consistent approach to the limited-overs squads.

"We are keen to keep this group together but are mindful of the strong performances from a number of other players including Hamish Rutherford and Anton Devcich," Edgar said.

"We are fortunate to be in a position to have a range of quality players to choose from."

The New Zealand squad for the ODI series against India starting on January 19 in Napier will be named next Wednesday, with an eye on building towards the 2015 one-day World Cup competition to be held in Australia and New Zealand.

However, Williamson said the current ODI squad weren't looking far ahead.

"It's so far away that a lot can happen in that time," he said of the World Cup.

"There's a lot of one-day cricket until then, so you're looking to build and improve. To be a chance of winning that would be a great position to be in - obviously it's great when you're winning and you want to take confidence into the World Cup.

"But I guess as soon as the World Cup starts, it becomes a different beast and all that's in the past is in the past.

"If you can take confidence from it, that's great, but even sides that may have been beaten know that going into it you're all equal.

"The Windies will be disappointed but they know come World Cup time they'll probably have a lot of players back that can win them games by themselves, so they'll be a huge threat."

Still, Williamson couldn't avoid questions about India from the assembled media at Seddon Park yesterday.

"They're top in the world at the moment so it's going to be a huge step up," he said.

"This Indian side's obviously extremely strong, watching some of their recent performances, so it'll be a good challenge.

"They're not far away, but it's [our focus] obviously on this game and we know how important it is to keep on improving."

He felt consistency of selection for the ODI squad had played a big part in recent successes in the 50-over-per-side format by the national team.

"I think that's been hugely important.

"Obviously we've had trying times in recent years and it's seen a lot of players come and go. I guess now, particularly with the test team as well, and now more with the one-day side there's a bit of continuity there and we seem to be playing reasonably good, consistent cricket.

"And I suppose that continuity is key, particularly in that short format where roles in positions are so key - where you can build momentum and confidence within the makeup of the team.

"I think that's what we've been doing each match with this side."

Fairfax Media