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Williamson reminisces ‘surreal’ feeling of being surrounded by Tendulkar, Dravid on debut in 2010

Kane Williamson of New Zealand bats during the first day of the first cricket test between New Zealand and South Africa at Bay Oval, Mt Maunganui, New Zealand, on February 04, 2024.
| Photo Credit: AP

Set to play his 100th Test match, star New Zealand batter Kane Williamson on Wednesday recollected the “surreal” feeling he had when he was surrounded by the legendary Indian cricketers, including the iconic Sachin Tendulkar, during his debut Test in Ahmedabad in 2010.

The 33-year-old Williamson, who made 131 in New Zealand’s first innings in the drawn Ahmedabad Test on debut, will be completing a century of Tests in the second match of the two-Test series against Australia beginning here on Friday.

“I remember walking out and looking around the field and seeing all my heroes. I used to love playing backyard cricket as a youngster, and all those guys were in that team that I would try and select,” Williamson told reporters.

“It was Tendulkar and Laxman and Dravid, and it was kind of like, ‘How am I here? I’d better start watching the ball and try and compete’.

“It was quite surreal. I remember being quite eager to try and get into the opposition’s dressing room and chat to some of those guys if I could.”

In that match, Virender Sehwag made 173, while Rahul Dravid scored 104 and Tendulkar 40 in India’s first innings total of 487.

Ninety-nine Tests and more than 10 years later, Williamson said he is still learning.

“Then a few grey hairs later and (after) a number of different experiences over that time, there’s not been many days – probably any – where I haven’t tried to improve and get better as a player,” said the right-handed batter who has scored 8675 runs at an average of 55.25, with the help of 32 hundreds and 33 fifties.

“It’s never a perfect journey. You go through so much. The format of Test cricket in particular really takes you through that. The learning – physically, (and) mentally – the reflection, (and) the memories of almost every Test that when you sit down and dissect it, there’s so much that you do recall.” One of Williamson’s career milestones was New Zealand’s World Test Championships final win against India in 2021 in Southampton, England.

“The Test Championship final (against India in 2021) is something that stands out for a number of different reasons. But it’s a journey, and the highlights aren’t there without the other.

“They’re all experiences that you value and learn from. To perhaps reflect on hundred of those, it’s something I never could have imagined.”

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