New Zealand batter Kane Williamson has chosen to decline the central contract for the 2024-25 season but reaffirmed his long-term commitment to the Blackcaps. New Zealand Cricket (NZC) confirmed the veteran player’s decision on Wednesday, clarifying that Williamson remains dedicated to the national team despite his contract opt-out. This announcement followed growing speculations about Williamson’s future after New Zealand’s early exit from the ongoing T20 World Cup.

With 358 international appearances, the 33-year-old Williamson has decided to step away from the central contract list and white-ball captaincy. This move aims to help him extend his international career while balancing personal commitments. Notably, New Zealand’s 2024-25 schedule is relatively light, with minimal bilateral series commitments until January.

Despite his decision, Williamson will continue to be available for New Zealand’s eight World Test Championship (WTC) matches. These matches are crucial as New Zealand strives to reach the final, scheduled to be held at Lord’s in June next year. New Zealand’s WTC campaign includes a three-match Test series against England, starting at the end of November on home soil.

“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 attached.

Williamson expressed satisfaction in finding a way to balance his personal and professional life while remaining committed to representing New Zealand. He emphasized the importance of spending more time with his family and enjoying experiences with them, both at home and abroad, while still contributing to the national team.

“This is a good way to help keep Kane in the international game so that he continues to play a major role for the BLACKCS – both now and in the years to come. We have very little international cricket in New Zealand through January, and outside that period he’s still available for the BLACKCS,” Weenink stated.

“NZC has a strong preference to select centrally contracted players for the BLACKCS, however, we’re happy to make an exception for our greatest-ever batter – especially as he remains so committed to the team. I know it sounds a bit counterintuitive, but I’m very encouraged by this development,” he attached.

NZC CEO Scott Weenink acknowledged Williamson’s immense contributions to the team. He supported Williamson’s decision, recognizing that the experienced player has earned the right to take time off to pursue other goals, including prioritizing family. This flexible approach aims to accommodate Williamson’s evolving life circumstances while ensuring his continued involvement in New Zealand cricket.

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