He’s one of world cricket’s gun batsmen, and he’s returning to Yorkshire.
Welcome back Kane Williamson!
New Zealand captain Williamson returns to Emerald Headingley in 2018 for a fourth spell as the club’s overseas player.
He will be playing in the T20 Blast and the Specsavers County Championship during the second half of the campaign.
Williamson has regularly been mentioned in the same breath as Steve Smith, Virat Kohli and Joe Root, with the quartet currently sitting in the top five places in the ICC’s Test batting rankings.
The 27-year-old former Gloucestershire right-hander currently sits fifth on the list having scored 17 hundreds in 62 Tests with 5,117 runs and an average of 50.66.
Tomorrow, he makes his 63rd appearance for the BlackCaps against the West Indies.
He is also ranked 10th in ODI cricket and fourth in T20s.
Williamson first signed for Yorkshire on a short-term basis for the latter stages of 2013 before returning again the following year.
After a summer’s gap, he signed on again in 2016.
Ahead of his latest spell, the quiet, unassuming Tauranga-born star has scored 1,756 runs in 42 appearances across all formats for the county with 12 fifties and one century.
That century, 189, came in a crucial Championship win over Sussex at Scarborough in August 2014 as the White Rose went on to win the title. Unfortunately, he wasn’t around at the end of the season to pick up his winner’s medal due to international commitments.
In 2013, former Kiwi fast bowler Simon Doull, now a respected TV commentator, said of Williamson: “The boy’s got incredible talent, and he has a terrific character.
“No one works harder at their game than Kane Williamson, and he deserves the success that he will get.
“I was telling people three or four years ago that he would score more Test runs than any other player who’s played for New Zealand. I stand by that.”
Doull’s prediction is looking a very sound one.
Williamson is currently sixth on his country’s list, behind John Wright (5,334), Martin Crowe (5,444), Ross Taylor (6,123), Brendon McCullum (6,453) and former Yorkshire overseas Stephen Fleming (7,172).
While he is seen as more suited to Test cricket, Williamson is an ever-improving limited overs batsman with notable records in both one-day and T20 cricket.
He has scored nine centuries in 117 ODIs, averaging a touch over 46, and has hit seven fifties in 42 T20 internationals, averaging 34.5.
An outstanding fielder and a part-time off-spinner, Williamson succeeded McCullum as his country’s permanent captain in 2016.
A young Williamson graduated through the Bay of Plenty system on New Zealand’s North Island to play for state side Northern Districts.
He became only the eighth New Zealander to score a century on Test debut when he hit 131 from number six in the order against India at Ahmedabad in November 2010.
He captained New Zealand’s full team in one-day international cricket in 2012 having led their Under 19s team earlier in his career.
He also captained Gloucestershire in county cricket through 2011 and led Yorkshire once in a T20 win over Derbyshire at Headingley in 2016.
2010 proved to be a key year in Williamson’s career.
Four domestic hundreds for Northern Districts earned him a New Zealand call-up for a one-day tri-series against India and Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka, and he made his one-day international debut against India at Dambulla in early August.
He went on to score his maiden ODI ton against Bangladesh, a 132-ball 108, in Mirpur in mid-October before posting his Test debut ton against India the following month.
He has not looked back.
He has since moved up the order to bat at number three, while often opening in T20 cricket.
Williamson is a hugely popular member of the Yorkshire dressing room, with many players speaking about the help he has given them in developing their own games.
He will be available to play in four Championship and eleven of the 14 T20 Blast group games in 2018 following next year’s Test series against England in New Zealand plus his commitments at the Indian Premier League.
He could also play in the T20 quarter-finals in late August should the Vikings get that far in the competition.
Williamson’s first match will be the Vikings’ Blast trip to the Emirates Riverside to face Durham on Friday July 13.
He will face the old enemy in the Championship at Old Trafford, starting July 22, before tackling Worcestershire at Scarborough and Somerset at Emerald Headingley.
His final match of the summer will be at Trent Bridge against Nottinghamshire, starting on September 4.