World Test Championship: Kane Williamson's desire to lead Blackcaps stronger than ever amid calls to relinquish captaincy

Blackcaps captain Kane Williamson's desire to lead New Zealand burns stronger than ever before the third test against England.

The master batter has endured a tough 18 months with injury and was forced to sit out their five-wicket defeat in the second test with COVID-19.

Williamson, 31, will lead the Blackcaps in the final test at Headingley and looks forward to putting the setbacks behind him.

"It's been an interesting period with injuries, COVID, and other bits and pieces, but the picture of leadership within the side is something I'm very passionate about," he said. "I love playing for my country.

"There are a number of leaders within the team that share that passion, and want to see this team continue to move forward, take steps forward and become a better side.

Some, including cricket commentator and former NZ seambowler Simon Doull would like to see Williamson step down after the tour of England.

Doull acknowledges the huge contribution Williamson has made to New Zealand cricket, but wants to see him relieved of his duties at test level.

"I just don't know about the longevity of Kane Williamson the captain," Doull told the Guardian.

"He is without doubt the best player we've ever produced, outside of Sir Richard Hadlee. He is world class and I'd love him to be just the best player we've ever seen, and if that means giving up the test captaincy to prolong his career, I think he should.

"He's never been a lover of doing the media - he's just not that guy. He's a real cricket guy, he loves the game, studies the game.

"I just don't know if he can sustain all three formats. I would rather he was just New Zealand's one-day and T20 captain.

"When you've got a really worthy replacement - and Tom Latham is - I think that is the easiest time to transition and walk away from it. New Zealand don't play another test until the autumn, so it is not a bad time, after the Leeds test, to do it.

"It's not because I think Kane's been a bad captain. I think he's been a great captain - to take New Zealand to the World Test Championship was incredible."

Williamson admits COVID-19 within the Blackcaps camp has been a challenging experience, but the team are confident they can bounce back and prevent a series sweep.

"It's been frustrating as well. There's always that risk and it's a shame that it is quite disruptive, but that's the nature of the beast," he said.

"It's just trying to take that big picture into account and keep trying to move forward in our way.

"For us, it's trying to learn some of the lessons along the way. We've had two really good games that could've gone either way and they've had some pretty special performances that have really driven their side forward.

"There's been a lot of good things, but we do want to be better."