Auckland: Kane Williamson will step down as captain of the New Zealand Test side, with Tim Southee to take up the leadership mantle.
Williamson will continue to lead the Kiwi side in ODI and T20I cricket and has reiterated his desire to play all three formats internationally.
Southee, who has 346 internationals to his name and has led the T20 side on 22 occasions, will become New Zealand's 31st Test captain when he leads the team on this month's Test tour to Pakistan.
Canterbury opener Tom Latham has been confirmed as Test vice-captain, after previously leading the side in Williamson's absence.
Williamson has captained the Test team on 38 occasions (22 wins, 8 draws, 10 losses) since assuming the role from Brendon McCullum in 2016. He said the time was right to step back.
"Captaining the Blackcaps in Test cricket has been an incredibly special honour. For me, Test cricket is the pinnacle of the game and I've enjoyed the challenges of leading the side in the format. Captaincy comes with an increased workload on and off the field and at this stage of my career I feel the time is right for this decision.
"After discussions with NZC, we felt that continuing to captain the white-ball formats was preferable with two World Cups in the next two years.I'm excited to support Tim as captain and Tom as vice-captain. Having played with both of them for most of my career, I'm confident they'll do a great job. Playing for the BLACKCAPS and contributing in all three formats is my number one priority and I'm looking forward to the cricket we have ahead." NZC CEO David White congratulated Williamson on the way he's led the Test side.
"Kane is one of our all-time greats and our priority is to ensure he enjoys his cricket and plays for New Zealand for as long as possible. He's a brilliant leader and the success the team has achieved during his time in the longest and arguably toughest format of the game, has been nothing short of remarkable. Statistically, he's the most successful Test captain we've ever had - which culminated in the team rising to the number one ICC Test ranking at the start of 2021 and the eventual victory in the ICC World Test Championship Final in June that year, " said NZC CEO David White.
White said Southee was the right man for the job.
"Tim's a strong and tactically astute leader and has a good feel for the game. I believe he is the right person to build on the foundations that Kane's created." The Blackcaps coach Gary Stead said Williamson had been a fine Test captain.
"Kane's guided the Test team through an immensely successful period which is testament to his ability to bring people together and work towards a common goal," he said.
"He's certainly led from the front with his own performances and that was very much the case during our push to win the World Test Championship. The Test team has continued to evolve and develop during his time and the fact we've been able to introduce new players and see them thrive almost instantly is a credit to Kane and his leadership. We hope by lessening his workload we can continue to see the best of Kane Williamson for longer on the international stage, and we know he will remain a key leader in this group, " added Gary Stead.
Stead said the decision to appoint Southee captain came down to the direction in which the Test team wanted to head.
"Tim's a quality leader with a good cricket brain. We've seen his captaincy skills on display with the T20 side and I'm sure he'll continue to bring an aggressive style, whilst still maintaining the core fundamentals of how this BLACKCAPS team operates in the Test arena. He will also come from a slightly different perspective in being a bowler which I'm sure will also bring with it new ideas and fresh thinking, " Stead said.
Southee, the current Sir Richard Hadlee Medal winner, said it was humbling to be asked to lead the Test side.
"It's been a surreal few days and it's just a massive honour to be appointed as Test captain. I love Test cricket, it's the ultimate challenge and I'm really excited by the opportunity to lead the team in this format. Kane's been an outstanding Test captain and I'm looking forward to working with Gary on how we can build on that." New Zealand's 15-member Test squad to face Pakistan will be confirmed soon. The two-Test series starts in Karachi on December 26 and concludes in Multan from January 3.
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