Kane Williamson is relishing his debut as Yorkshire’s overseas player against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge tomorrow.
The New Zealand batsman has been recruited by the White Rose county to bolster their batting, and their title push, ahead of the final five LV= County Championship matches of the season, which sees Andrew Gale’s men 10 points clear at the summit.
Williamson, who has previously played with Gloucestershire in Division Two, returns to English shores after an early summer Test and one-day series and then the Champions Trophy.
The 23-year-old right-hander has 25 Test caps and three hundreds to his name, including a debut 131 against India at Ahmedabad in November 2010. He was only the eighth Kiwi to achieve that feat.
The Northern Districts star has played all three formats of the game for New Zealand, and he also has a first-class career best of 284 not out for ND.
Williamson said it would be “ideal” if he could return home at the end of the season with a Championship medal in his suitcase. But, with matches to play against their three closest title rivals in Sussex, Middlesex and Durham, it won’t be easy.
Even Nottinghamshire, who are 47 points behind after 11 matches in sixth place, will refuse to accept that they are out of the title race ahead of this week’s clash.
“Yorkshire are tracking really well. Hopefully I can slide into the team and contribute in some ways to continue that momentum,” said Williamson, who did not flinch at suggestions that he is under immediate pressure to live up to expectations.
“There’s pressure on everyone. You’re coming to the end of the competition, and the team is going so very well. We’ve got some big games to come. The pressure’s always on when you’re a front-runner in a competition.
“We need to continue what the boys have been doing, and we need to keep looking to move forward and treat every game just one at a time. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Williamson’s last outing came for the Blackcaps in the Champions Trophy against England at Cardiff when he scored 67 in a losing cause on June 16.
He returned to pre-season training with his state side approximately three weeks ago before getting the call from Yorkshire to hop on a plane back to England.
“It happened very quickly. I’d flown home, and I’d been home for a couple of weeks.” added the former NZ under 19s skipper. “Overnight it happened, and I’m back on a plane over here playing some more cricket. I’m really excited to be joining a club like Yorkshire.
“I’ve played here (in England) a few times, so it’s nice to have that experience and know what to expect. But every time you go out to bat, it’s a new challenge. It’s important you treat it like that.”
Meanwhile, Williamson’s new domestic coach James Pamment believes the player will be a big hit during the next month and a half.
Pamment, born in Huddersfield and a former batsman who aspired to play for the White Rose, said: “Kane will be very respectful of the situation the current team have worked hard to achieve. He’s a winner, and he will take great pride in helping Yorkshire strive to win the Championship over the final month or so.
“He loves the game, he loves batting, he’s a student of the game. He will understand what is required, and he will be working very hard to score as many runs as he can”.
Yorkshire squad to face Nottinghamshire:
Jack Brooks, Andrew Gale ©, Andrew Hodd (wk), Phil Jaques, Alex Lees, Adam Lyth, Steven Patterson, Liam Plunkett, Richard Pyrah, Adil Rashid, Ryan Sidebottom, Kane Williamson.