New Zealand’s captain Kane Williamson has described winning the inaugural World Test Championship in Southampton as a “special feeling”, but would not go as far as calling it the biggest day in the history of New Zealand cricket.
“Certainly is a very special feeling. A couple of close ones and then to get one [final win is special],” Williamson said before collecting the Test Championship trophy. “India are a formidable side and we knew coming into the game it was going to be an incredibly tough challenge.
“Even coming into the last day, although it was staggered with the weather and all the delays that we had, all results were on the table. It was just great that the heart the team showed to take it across the line.”
Williamson also said that while 11 people took the field for the WTC final, he wished to pay tribute to all 22 squad players who were part of the New Zealand Test side in the championship cycle. He also said that it was his players’ “heart and commitment” that earned them the final win.
“I think for us, we know we don’t always have the stars, and we use our bits and pieces to stay in games and be competitive,” Williamson said. “I think we saw that in this match. I think we saw a lot of heart, a lot of commitment. What’s important to our group is our commitment to our style of cricket. And we had to, we know how strong this Indian side is in all conditions. We’ve seen it for a long time.
“It’s not always easy I suppose when you’re playing in a one-off Test match as a final where anything can happen, and it’s a fickle game, and we respect that, but yeah, throughout all six days it ebbed and flowed and no one really got the upper hand for a long period of time.”
Williamson also praised his lower-order batters in the first innings, who helped New Zealand take a 32-run lead. He said that while he personally found it tough to score runs against an “amazing” Indian attack, the way the lower order played with the freedom to take them to the lead played a big role in New Zealand eventually winning the match. He also praised the surface prepared for the final, calling it a “sporting wicket” for providing a result despite only four days of cricket possible.
“That was tough obviously, an amazing attack, didn’t give you much to hit for long periods,” he said. “It was certainly tough going but we had to apply ourselves and the lower order played with a bit more freedom to take us closer to some sort of lead, which was important on a wicket like this. A very sporting surface, I suppose, and only four days of cricket produced some result.”
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.