Kane Williamson. Photo- ICC

Kane Williamson has decided to opt out of New Zealand’s central contract for 2024-25 and in a shocking decision, stepped down as New Zealand captain in white-ball formats as well.

Willamson’s decision comes after New Zealand failed to qualify for the Super 8s stage of the ongoing T20 World Cup 2024 tournament.

The Kane Williamson-led Kiwis, who finished second in the 2021 T20 World Cup, had a dreadful performance in the United States and the West Indies. The Blackcaps were placed in Group C with co-hosts the West Indies, Afghanistan, Uganda, and Papua New Guinea, and they lost their first two games.

New Zealand lost their opening group game to the West Indies before being surprised by Rashid Khan’s Afghanistan in a thumping defeat. Despite victories over Uganda and PNG, New Zealand’s first two group-stage losses were fatal to their chances of making the Super 8.

“Helping push the team forward across the formats is something I’m very passionate about and something I want to keep contributing towards. However, pursuing an overseas opportunity during the New Zealand summer means I’m unable to accept a central contract offer,” Williamson said in a New Zealand Cricket (NZC) release.

Moreover, Kane Williamson had relinquished the Test captaincy before the last season, with Tim Southee taking over as skipper.

Spending more time with my family is important to me- Kane Williamson

Williamson, who played his 100th Test earlier this year, has 165 ODI and 93 T20I caps. He captained New Zealand in 40 Tests, 91 ODIs, and 75 T20Is. He led New Zealand to their second ICC trophy, defeating India in the final of the 2021 World Test Championship.

Despite giving up his central contract, Kane Williamson remains committed to playing for New Zealand.

“Playing for New Zealand is something I treasure, and my desire to give back to the team remains undiminished. My life outside cricket has changed, however. Spending more time with my family and enjoying experiences with them at home or abroad is something that’s even more important to me,” he added.

Earlier, pacer Trent Boult had called time on his international career, with the game against PNG being his last in New Zealand colors. On the other hand, fast bowler Lockie Ferguson, 33, who has played a Test, 65 ODIs and 42 T20Is, also confirmed that he won’t be accepting a central contract offer.

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