New Zealand ace Kane Williamson is thrilled to be part of the Birmingham Phoenix squad for the inaugural Hundred this summer - and can't wait to embrace the "challenge" of the groundbreaking format.
One of the best batters in the world, the 29-year-old Kiwi will, bring his class to the Edgbaston-based Phoenix squad alongside Birmingham-born stars Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali and Bears favourites Adam Hose and Henry Brookes.
With 286 appearances for his country across the three formats, Williamson is right up there among the world’s batting elite – and now he is relishing the chance to shine in a fourth format.
As a cricketer you always want to test yourself against the best and that’s what competitions like The Hundred and the IPL are all about.Kane Williamson
“It’s very exciting to be involved in a new competition,” he said. “From a personal view, when cricket evolves you want to be a part of it and The Hundred should be a lot of fun.
“As a cricketer you always want to test yourself against the best and that’s what competitions like The Hundred and the IPL are all about. The Hundred provides another opportunity to play with and against the best players and learn from new coaches like the Phoenix’s Andrew McDonald.
“With the 10-ball concept it will create a different strategy depending on the style of players you have and team plans that you are looking to implement. It will challenge coaches and captains which is a good thing.
“It will also be great for the spectators. The Hundred is the perfect competition for an existing cricket fan to bring someone new along to – family and friends. With a two-and-a-half-hour window, it will be great for new fans and young kids but also the strategy and quality of players drafted will appeal to all cricket lovers.”
Williamson already has some special memories of Edgbaston, having played one of the great World Cup innings there for the Black Caps against South Africa last June. Chasing 241, his side was in deep trouble at 80 for four but Williamson’s superb unbeaten 106 steered them to a sensational victory with just three balls to spare.
“Beating South Africa in the last over of the World Cup is a special memory for me,” he said. “But the Edgbaston ground itself and the support you get there always creates a brilliant atmosphere. Even the dressing rooms are world class!”