Latham to lead Black Caps as Williamson takes paternal leave

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Tom Latham will skipper the Black Caps in the second Test against the West Indies after regular captain Kane Williamson withdrew from the bubble to be with his partner for the birth of his first child.

Williamson has repaired to Tuaranga to be with Sarah Raheem, who is expected to give birth in the coming days.

Williamson takes paternal leave

What that means for the Black Caps is that Williamson’s spot in the XI will be taken by Will Young while Devon Conway has been added to the squad as cover.

Latham will take charge of the team in Test cricket for the second time in his career having led the team for the first time during the 2019 series in Australia.

New Zealand coach Gary Stead said that the team would not begrudge Williamson’s decision to prioritise his family.

“It’s a decision we have come to around, I guess, the best decision for him [Williamson] and Sarah, and also for our team long-term, and in terms of him being in a good place to be with Sarah as well,” said Stead.

“Young will come in and bat three, it’s a logical replacement that he just slips into that position. Will’s played there a lot, so, yeah, it’s a natural replacement.”

Latham to captain against the West Indies

Stead put his faith in Latham as the skipper again backing him as a calm and mature player.

“Tom Latham will take over as captain,” Stead added. 

“He has been Test captain before in the past for us, and he’s got a calm head on his shoulders, and I know with a lot of other leaders in our team that he will lean on them for their support as well.”

The decision comes as a bit of a u-turn as it seemed Williamson had agreed to only leave the squad after the second Test against the West Indies in Wellington.

Stead believes that New Zealand will cope with the absence of their star batsman.

“Worst case scenario, Kane misses some matches. As a dad, as a parent, you only get that opportunity once in your life to be there for your (first) child’s birth and I know that it’s important for Kane too. At the end of the day, we play cricket, and other things are much more important. And that is much more important,” Stead said earlier in the week.

The second and final Test between New Zealand and the West Indies gets underway at the Basin Reserve on 11 December.

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