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World top-ranked Test batsman Kane Williamson can't wait to taste the "fantastic atmosphere" at Edgbaston when New Zealand face England in Birmingham over five days in June.

A mouth-watering match is in prospect from June 10-14 as the Black Caps, number one side in the world in Test cricket, prepare to take an England side which, under Joe Root, have their eyes very much on taking over that top spot.

New Zealand have an array of high-class batsmen, but Williamson will be the top scalp for Root’s men. And the Kiwi ace knows from experience that, as well as England’s bowlers, his side will also have to deal with the world-renowned passion of the Edgbaston crowd.

“It’s a fantastic atmosphere at Edgbaston,” Williamson said. “We have played some great games there over the years and it is a very special place.

“Whenever you play England there, it is a strong home crowd with a real buzz.  It’s a big club and a brilliant ground with a fantastic atmosphere when it is packed out, whoever is playing. I remember playing Pakistan there in the World Cup and that was amazing. It will be brilliant for us to take on a very strong England team there.”

Kane Williamson

After all the difficulties of the last year, the 2021 season in England is being looked forward to perhaps more than any other.  For cricket-lovers in the Midlands, the late arrival in the calendar of an Edgbaston Test between arguably the best two sides in the world is the icing on the cake.

New Zealand will arrive on a roll and at the highest point in their history – and Williamson insists they will not be sitting on their laurels. They intend to stay strong.

“This is a very exciting time for New Zealand cricket,” he said. “You try to put in strong performances and if that is reflected in the rankings then great, but this is not a time to dwell on that. It’s a time to grow and try to improve further.

“We know when we play England it is always extremely tough, and in their back yard it is an added challenge. We will prepare as well as we can and we know it will be a really exciting series.”

2023 Ashes: Tickets on sale now

Edgbaston will host the first LV= Insurance Men’s Ashes Test Match against Australia from Friday 16 to Tuesday 20 June and a Women’s Ashes IT20 on Saturday 1 July.

Our Major Match programme will also include a Men’s Vitality IT20 against New Zealand on Sunday 3 September and Vitality Blast Finals Day.

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