Here's why Kane Williamson deserved the Halberg Award for New Zealand sportsman of the year

Kane Williamson was spectacular across formats in the 2015 calendar year.

Here's why Kane Williamson deserved the Halberg Award for New Zealand sportsman of the year
Updated: February 19, 2016 5:38 AM IST | Edited By: Rishad DSouza

Kane Williamson was the leading run scorer across formats in 2015    Getty Images (File Photo) Kane Williamson was the leading run scorer across formats in 2015 Getty Images (File Photo)

Kane Williamson just seems on an upward curve that appears to have no downward descent. In acknowledgement of his fantastic performances, he was crowned the best New Zealand sportsman of the year 2015 by receiving the Halberg Award. In doing so, he even surpassed the likes of great rugby performers like Sonny Bill Williams, Dan Carter and Richie McCaw to lay claim to the title, even though those players were part of a World Cup winning team. Obviously, Williamson's performances had to be that much more spectacular in order to make the title his own. Rishad D'Souza presents some numbers to justify the honour bestowed upon Williamson. ALSO READ: Brendon McCullum claims Halberg Award for leadership

Williamson was absolutely outstanding in the Test format. By sheer weight of runs scored he was comfortably the highest New Zealander in 2015. From just eight Tests he accumulated a mammoth 1,172 runs in the 2015 calendar year at an almost Bradmanesque average of 90.15. His haul included five hundreds and four fifties, testifying to a brilliant conversion rate.

While he was not the highest run scorer in the world for the concerned year, that can be attributed to the fact that he played just eight Tests as opposed to the 12 and 13 games played by those above him. One needs to only compare averages to know that Williamson was heads and shoulders above his competitors in the year.

Among those with 1,000 runs, Williamson is the only cricketer other than from England and Australia who traditionally play far many more Tests than others. Among-st the lot Williamson averages the most as seen in the table below.

Player Team Mat Inns Runs HS Avg 100s 50s
Kane Williamson New Zealand 8 16 1172 242* 90.15 5 4
Adam Voges Australia 12 18 1028 269* 85.66 4 3
Steven Smith Australia 13 24 1474 215 73.7 6 5
Joe Root England 14 26 1385 182* 60.21 3 10
David Warner Australia 13 24 1317 253 54.87 4 7
Alastair Cook England 14 26 1364 263 54.56 3 8

The good part of Williamson's exploits was that, three of his hundreds came outside New Zealand. His consistency propelled him to the No. 1 ranking for a brief time. Indisputably, he was the best batsman in the world for the previous calendar year.

Williamson will remember 2015 fondly not only for his numbers in Test cricket, but also for what he achieved in One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is). He did his bit to dispel the notion that a classically styled batsman can't succeed in modern limited-overs cricket.

From 26 innings, Williamson amassed 1,376 runs to finish the year as the second leading run-scorer in 2015, behind only countryman Martin Guptill. He had an amazing average of 57.33 and his runs were built on three hundreds and nine fifties. In this format, his performances did not see him top an average list, but it was still a very stellar year nonetheless.

The below table shows the batsmen in order of averages in ODIs with a cut off of 500 runs in 2015. Williamson finds himself at No. 6 which is no mean feat given the competition he was up against.

Player Teams M Inns Runs HS Avg SR 100s 50s
Kumar Sangakkara Sri Lanka 14 13 862 124 86.2 103 5 2
AB de Villiers South Africa 20 18 1193 162* 79.53 138 5 5
Shoaib Malik Pakistan 15 15 607 112 67.44 108 1 4
F du Plessis South Africa 20 19 884 133* 58.93 82.9 2 8
Ross Taylor New Zealand 27 25 1046 119* 58.11 81.7 4 4
Kane Williamson New Zealand 27 26 1376 118 57.33 89.9 3 9
Ian Bell England 11 11 509 141 56.55 88.1 1 4
Martin Guptill New Zealand 32 32 1489 237* 55.14 96.6 4 8
David Warner Australia 15 14 652 178 54.33 111 2 2
Steven Smith Australia 19 17 805 105 53.66 86.1 2 5

In the shortest format of them all Williamson does not have numbers to drive home about. Having said that, 144 runs from four innings at an average of 36 and more crucially a strike-rate of 165.51 is still very commendable.

A testimony to Williamson's consistency across formats is the fact that he comfortably ended as the top run-scorer in the year when taking a consolidated look in all formats. Overall, he scored 2,692 runs at an average of 65.65 and a strike-rate of 75.34 with eight hundreds. The second best Guptill was more than 300 runs short of his tally.

Here's the table testifying to that stat:

Player Teams Mat Inns Runs HS Avg SR 100s 50s
Kane Williamson New Zealand 39 46 2692 242* 65.7 75.34 8 14
Steven Smith Australia 33 42 2369 215 65.8 70.46 8 11
Joe Root England 37 47 2228 182* 51.8 73.19 6 15
Martin Guptill New Zealand 43 50 2105 237* 46.8 83.07 5 12
David Warner Australia 29 39 1973 253 53.3 89.47 6 9

With suc staggering numbers across formats, it is safe to say the judging committee at the Halberg's had the right idea when they gave Williamson the ultimate crown in New Zealand sport for 2015.

(Rishad D Souza, a reporter with CricketCountry, gave up hopes of playing Test cricket after a poor gully-cricket career. He now reports on the sport. You can follow @RDcric on Twitter)



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