Williams embraces captaincy  

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A FEW eyebrows were raised when Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) announced Sean Williams as the new Test captain, replacing the retired Hamilton Masakadza last year.
The sceptics were justified considering William’s reputation as a hothead after numerous clashes with authorities in the past due to his tendency of being a straight talker.
At one point in 2011, Williams was so disillusioned with ZC he quit the game for hockey and amateur cricket in South Africa.
The gifted left-hander was frustrated by a number of challenges bedevilling cricket at the time as there was late and non-payment of match fees among other challenges.
Fast forward to present day, Williams, now 33, is seamlessly adjusting into his new role which comes with huge responsibilities.
His first assignment was to lead his country in the just-ended two-match Test series against Sri Lanka with all matches held at Harare Sports Club.
Despite the tourists winning the series 1-0, Williams and his charges put in a good performance despite the rust they had to scrap off coming into the series. Zimbabwe’s last red ball cricket series was away to Bangladesh in November 2018.
Williams was the team run scorer powered by his first innings score of 107 and a 53 not out in the second.
“I have learnt a lot actually to be honest with on field placing, I have learnt a lot about pitches already just in one day,” Williams said at the end of the first day in the opening Test match.
“Respect towards the opposition and respect for the game of cricket, that’s probably the biggest thing that I have learnt.
“Obviously things don’t go your way a lot of times like umpiring decisions. In the past when umpiring decision didn’t go my way I used to lose it but now I’m a lot more calm, and a little more chilled in that area.
“I have learnt a lot about my team and every character in the side, how to talk to them when to talk and stuff like that.”
Another big lesson for Williams has been the need to put his body on the line for the team as the captain.
During the second match, Williams shrugged off sick health to play although he sat out much of the fielding periods to allow himself to recover.
“It actually started before the first Test to be honest with you. It started on Sunday when I missed training, I ended up staying at the hotel the whole day, luckily my wife was there with me,” he said.
“Monday (last week), I was feeling a lot better I came in. When I was batting I came into the changing room few times when I actually got sick.
“Luckily as I fell into the car park the doctor from Mars was there, picked me up and brought me straight into the medical rooms downstairs and put me on a drip…it’s been extremely tough for me to get through this mentally and physically, for its been hard.
“But luckily Brendan stood up and took my place on the field and did a fantastic job in the first innings and obviously the guys backing me up there with their personal performances like Raza for example 47 overs he bowled overs for me there. I appreciate that and that’s what I’m looking for in a team for guys to back each other up when things go wrong, it creates unity.”
ZC chairperson Tavengwa Mukuhlani spoke highly of Williams and how they arrived at the decision following Masakadza’s recommendation.
Masakadza is now the ZC director of cricket after his retirement.
“Sean delivers with the bat, he delivers with the ball. I think what this team needed the most after last year’s disturbance was someone who can ask them to deliver,” Mukuhlani told the Daily News on Sunday.
“We were not looking for the most likely candidate but an individual with decent credentials and we found all that in Sean.
“Sean has enough share of problems on and off the field but you can’t always have to relegate these players to the bench, it’s important that we always give these guys a chance, it’s our duty as leadership to rehabilitate them.
“When you give cricket to a guy like Sean you are solving every other problem he may have on and off the field.
“He is a great ambassador of the game. He lives, eats and sleeps cricket. Our prayer is that all the senior players rally behind him and I have no doubt we have a quality leader in him.”

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