Number three in this great game of cricket does carry a lot of weight if you come to think of it. What is fundamentally called one down, given the audiences have grown accustomed to it is more than a numerical batting position; it is the wearer of insane pressure.
It isn’t one down as much as it is about keeping up the hope.
For the number#3 is that batter that knows that he simply cannot flounder and mustn’t, especially in the face of overwhelming odds.
Well, not when it is the mother of all T20 battles, such as the one a certain Kane Williamson has just crashed out of, though not before scoring a timely, hope-giving 46 off 42 deliveries (a knock that featured a four and a six).
It is also the very battleground where Kane Williamson, as of the 2021 edition, played a blinder of a knock.
His captain’s knock, one featuring 10 fours and 3 sixes offered the thrust of armoured warfare of the kinds that WWII German General Erwin Rommel exhibited despite facing the confidence-shaking superiority from the side of the English, the Desert Fox’s great adversaries.
And while a lot has changed over a year for one of New Zealand’s nicest blokes in a span of a year, what hasn’t is the grace with which one of Cricket’s most stable right-handers goes about his business:
Peacefully, always with a purpose and whilst keeping a sane head on his shoulders, almost always.
It’s not that the likes of Kane Williamson do not have off days; but when they do, the earth doesn’t shake all thanks to the Kiwi’s temperamental outbursts.
This Kane is able (no pun intended) and can tide the course of a hopeless battle with one stroke of insane daring.
And daring is precisely what Kane Williamson excels at and as often as he can manage. This is no longer the man who has the services of Brandon McCullum; the days of the Baz are long gone.
Moreover with Guppy (Martin Guptill) no longer being the force he once was and young guns like Glenn Phillips, however talented albeit still looking to properly settle down in a team (marked by transition), Kane Williamson’s task can never be any easy- can it?
It never was a year ago, miles away from the southern Transcontinental comfort when Mitchell and experienced pro Guptill (28 off 35) simply failed to get going in the key final (T20 World Cup, 2021), leaving Kane Williamson amid a daunting pack of Aussie pacers.
But instead of succumbing to pressure, which isn’t him, the usually conservative Williamson began to open his wings akin to a Kiwi bird willing to go on the offensive.
It was in a fashion few had known or experienced until that day at the Dubai International Stadium where Kane Williamson demonstrated perhaps one of the most valiant efforts in a T20 international.
And thus came to life, though not before an eight-over stay at the crease, arguably speaking one of the most dashing fifties ever scored by a New Zealander (a 85 off 48).
Not that the fate of that particular outcome was much different to what was felt and seen today; the Kiwis came crashing down lacking the very fighting elements that truly make them a one of a kind cricketing wonder.
Kane Williamson would be a gutted man. Perhaps gutted the way he was a year back in the past where despite his magnificent, attacking (not a phrase one usually associates with him) half-century against the Aussies, he couldn’t emerge on the winning side.
But even then, their leader, one who stands heads and shoulders above the rest arduously fought on.
Though nothing that we say about the state of mind of one of Cricket’s finest and most genuine leaders can truly summarize what he felt in the immediate aftermath of a loss to Pakistan that, truth be told, is going to hurt.
And make no mistake it’s a loss that is going to hurt; a classic case of being so close and yet, so far!
That said, here’s what the bearded carrier of endless wisdom had to say after his team crashed out of the 2022 T20 World Cup with Pakistan having humbled the Kiwis by no fewer than seven wickets:
“I certainly love playing in all the formats. There’s a lot of cricket, and so that needs to be managed a little bit. It’s a changing landscape with players all around the world at the moment, and we’ve seen it in our camp as well. After these sorts of events you sort of sit down and give yourself a chance to reflect and sort of look at what’s coming up.”
But having said that, just what does the future hold for one of New Zealand’s nicest and most well meaning Kiwi? What future assignments beckon his immediate attention?
The following is what you need to know (with inputs taken from EspnCricinfo):
Beyond the limited-overs visit by India this month, New Zealand’s home season includes two Tests against England in February, then a three-format tour by Sri Lanka in March and early April. As has been the case in previous seasons, the matches late in their summer will likely be missing players with IPL deals.