Opinion: Questioning Kane Williamson's captaincy is pathetic - far deeper issues exist

OPINION: The growing scuttlebutt surrounding the end of Kane Williamson's tenure as Blackcaps captain is a joke.

Did he bat well against Australia? No. Did he make a couple of questionable calls? Yes. 

But to even suggest he isn't enjoying captaincy or raise concerns about whether or not he should be captain baffles me. 

The Blackcaps are 2-0 down after the first two tests against Australia after being outplayed in both, losing by 296 and 247 runs with the skipper averaging a little over 14 in this series.

During and following the heavy loss, pundits started to assert that the pressure of captaincy is affecting his batsmanship - that is ludicrous. 

Since taking over from Brendon McCullum in 2016, Williamson has scored 2342 test runs at a remarkable 55.76 per innings, scoring eight hundreds in the process. 

Of the 14 test series that Williamson has been in charge of, New Zealand have won nine, lost four and drawn once - results that have seen his side rise as high as second in the world rankings. 

Not only is he arguably already New Zealand's greatest-ever batsman, but he holds New Zealand's highest winning percentage as captain at 53 percent.  

The 29-year-old has the ninth highest winning percentage of a player who has captained 25 or more tests ever and the highest ever of any past New Zealand skipper.

This whole notion that his captaincy needs questioning is pathetic. How is he supposed to take 20 wickets when his specialised "spinner" can't spin the ball? 

Mitch Santner's bowling figures after the first two tests are 1/250 off 69 overs. That is one of the reasons why Williamson bowled Tom Blundell in the first innings of the second test, because there was no other option when it came to slower bowlers.

The real questions we should be asking are around each players' individual shot selection under pressure and, more importantly, the balance of the side.

Williamson's dismissal in the first innings in Melbourne was horrible. A lazy pull shot off a ball a foot outside off stump against a guy in James Pattinson who throws it down at a touch over 140kmph.

But Tom Latham's shots to get out in both innings' were worse, slashing at full wide balls - criminal to get out like that in consecutive innings. 

Ross Taylor's mind blank six minutes before lunch where he cut the ball onto his stumps was inexcusable. Two of our best batsmen of 2019 let us down on the biggest stage.

And don't get me started on Colin de Grandhomme's batting IQ.


What we need to do is start asking questions around Gary Stead and Gavin Larsen and their selection choices.

Their collective stubbornness in the selection of Santner when he's not even in the top two spinners in the country is mind-numbing. 

Ajaz Patel (22 test wickets) and Will Somerville (14 test wickets) were remarkably left out of the original squad that was named two months ago, before the England series. 

Todd Astle, the second spinner in the squad, averages 54 runs per wicket in test cricket in four tests, while Santner averages 44 in his 22 matches.

The two Larsen and Stead chose to ignore, Patel and Somerville, average 32 and 25, respectively, yet were deamed surplus to requirements - probably because they lack with the bat.

Hopefully, Somerville, who led New South Wales' Sheffield Shield wicket taking stats in 2017, gets the nod in Sydney after being called up to replace Trent Boult. 

I understand the hype having not played a Boxing Day test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in 32 years, but we need to be reasonable in assessing the task at hand. 

New Zealand played an Australian bowling attack that is the best all-around squad on the planet, and lethal in their own conditions.

Since India's mammoth 600-plus at the Sydney Cricket Ground a year ago, this Australian attack (add Peter Siddle and Josh Hazlewood) hasn't conceded more than 374 runs in an innings.

Only four times in that 11 test stretch have they leaked more than 300. 

The Blackcaps played a trial-and-error opener, a spinner who shouldn't have been there, and only twice has an established test batsman passed 50 in four innings.

Yes, it was a bad couple of tests, but to question Williamson's captaincy is really just silly - this series is just a reality call about Australia and India being streaks ahead of the rest of the field.

If Williamson's captaincy is under scrutiny and he may not be the man for the job, show me somebody who is.