Williamson plays straight bat to controversry

HAMISH BIDWELL IN CHITTAGONG
Last updated 12:13 24/03/2014
Stuart Board and Brendan McCullum
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STORMY WEATHER: England cricket captain Stuart Broad speaks with NZ captain Brendan McCullum as rain stops play during the ICC World Twenty20 Bangladesh 2014 group 1 match at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium.

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He's no lightning rod, Kane Williamson.

English hopes that the New Zealand opener might ignite a war of words, on the back of Sunday morning's abbreviated World Twenty20 tournament match in Chittagong were soon snuffed out yesterday.

Williamson isn't known for his provocative comments and while the England team might want to moan and groan about injustice of playing through a few lightning strikes, New Zealand want the topic to disappear.

Along with captain Brendon McCullum, Williamson was one of the two Black Caps on the field. If he was shocked - in the sense of being surprised - or feared for his safety, he preferred not to say.

These are a selection of press conference quotes to illustrate the point.

"Yeah there was lightning and it was obviously not ideal and I s'pose that's just part of the game.''

"You're not really used to playing with lightning so it's a bit foreign. Look we're just moving on to the next game

"Look I was just trying to watch the ball and play as best I can...look that all happened yesterday.''

Williamson later spoke to Fairfax Media and while still reluctant to discuss Sunday's unique situation at length, he said lightning striking the metal grill of their helmets had been he and McCullum's concern.

"It was pretty serious sort of lightning. Big forks and things and it was fairly close, so every chance we got we took our helmets off and walked away from it.''

The bottom line from that game is that there was thunder and lightning and then it rained and the players left the field and didn't return. You can delve into that as much as you like, but that's what happened and when it was over New Zealand were declared victors under the laws which exist to cater for abandoned matches.

The rights and wrongs of it are not for Williamson or any of the Black Caps to discuss, really. You're just glad everyone emerged from the episode unscathed and, from a New Zealand point of view, that they got a result that'll aid the rest of their campaign.

Whether they can build on that positive start, against South Africa tonight, remains to be seen. What's not in dispute is that beating the Proteas is one of cricket's bigger challenges.

"They've obviously got world class batsmen, a world class bowling attack and they field very well. We need to play our best cricket to take them down,'' said Williamson.

The daytime fixture (Bangladeshi time) allows New Zealand the opportunity to tinker with the side that beat England. In terms of what might stay the same, it'll be interesting to see if the Black Caps again try stationing a fielder in front of the sight screen when Nathan McCullum's bowling.

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Having someone protect the "Max Zone'' in the old Cricket Max format was common, with the game's inventor Martin Crowe christening the position "mid straight.''

The Black Caps are now doing similar, except that the fieldsman is on the rope.

"It's worked once before, when some guy's come down and hit it straight to him and you see a lot of balls go through there so I guess it was just something we've thought about,'' Williamson said.

- Fairfax Media

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