ZB

'Worst season in history': Inside Kane Williamson's shocking IPL

Author
NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Sat, 14 May 2022, 10:17am
Kane Williamson has endured a frustrating season with the bat in the IPL. Photo / photosport.nz
Kane Williamson has endured a frustrating season with the bat in the IPL. Photo / photosport.nz

'Worst season in history': Inside Kane Williamson's shocking IPL

Author
NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Sat, 14 May 2022, 10:17am

Kane Williamson's return to the crease isn't going to plan.

The Black Caps skipper, who missed four months of cricket with an elbow injury, is compiling the worst statistical batting season in the history of the Indian Premier League.

Williamson will surely be pleased to simply be back in the middle, having successfully managed the nagging elbow injury that caused him to miss the home summer.

And the Black Caps, preparing for next month's three-test series in England, will be similarly satisfied with their captain's progress from a fitness perspective.

But Sunrisers Hyderabad have suffered from Williamson's lack of form, especially considering they paid $2.7 million to retain him.

Far from justifying that financial outlay, Williamson has been one of the key factors in Sunrisers' 5-6 record this season, with statistics painting an unsightly picture.

Cricket analytics company CricViz uses a tool to measure a player's batting impact by calculating how many runs more than the average player a batsman contributes. It takes into account the game situation and provides a more refined indicator about the value of a batsman's innings.

Using that tool, CricViz has calculated Williamson's average batting impact in this IPL season is -9.0, meaning each of the Kiwi's innings have subtracted nine runs from what the average player should contribute.

That, according to CricViz, is the lowest number for any batsman in any of the IPL's 15 seasons, with a minimum of 100 balls faced.

Williamson has faced 207 deliveries this season while scoring 199 runs, good for a strike rate of 96.1 while averaging 19.9.

In one of the highest-scoring IPL seasons, he has the 40th most runs scored but only two of the batsmen ahead of him have strike rates under 120 — Virat Kohli (111.3) and Ishan Kishan (117.2).

Given Williamson has opened the batting in each of Sunrisers' 11 matches, his occupation of the crease while scoring so slowly has hurt the ability to post competitive totals.

Especially damning, the 31-year-old has scored only 101 runs from 127 deliveries during the powerplay.

According to CricViz, no player in IPL history has scored slower while facing so many balls.

Sunrisers coach Tom Moody said he had thought about dropping Williamson down the order but, after being run out without facing a ball in his last match on Monday, backed his captain to find form.

"To be fair to Kane, he didn't even face a ball, so it'll be pretty hard to judge his form on [that] outing," Moody said. "We back him. He's a world-class player — no question. He'll have his moment to stamp his authority on the tournament."

Williamson is running out of chances. The Sunrisers have three games to play in the round robin and will need wins to reach the playoffs.

"It's been quite a challenge for us," Williamson said of the season.

"The batting has been quality, but as a unit there are areas to touch on. It's about looking to stay calm. We do need to improve, but don't need to overthink. The margins are always fine," he said.

The Black Caps would hardly be disappointed if Williamson's side miss the finals, given that would hasten his arrival in England and give him more time to prepare with the red Dukes ball.

His ability to score quickly will be a non-factor in the test series, so his form will likely be of little concern to coach Gary Stead.

Williamson's health is much more important, but the Sunrisers have certainly paid a hefty price for his rehabilitation stint.