Tom Latham will open the batting for New Zealand, with Kane Williamson coming in at No.3    Getty Images
Tom Latham has backed Kane Williamson to succeed as New Zealand skipper in Tests Getty Images

Tom Latham has heaped praises on his side’s skipper Kane Williamson ahead of New Zealand’s first Test against Zimbabwe at Bulawayo. The two-match series will mark debut of Williamson as skipper in Tests. He takes over the reigns from Brendon McCullum, who announced retirement from international cricket after the second Test against Australia earlier this year. Williamson will lead a team which hasn’t played red-ball cricket since the last five months. After this series, New Zealand travel to South Africa for another two-Test series, before heading to India for the three Tests and five ODIs. ALSO READ: NZ head coach Mike Hesson worried over Bulawayo wicket

Latham, who would be expected to open alongside Martin Guptill, was quoted by cricbuzz as saying, “He [Kane Williamson] is a very switched-on guy and certainly leads from the front with his batting. He has had enough experience throughout his career and I’m sure he is going to do a fantastic job.”

He also predicted the nature of wickets New Zealand may encounter on this tour. “The conditions are low and slow compared to what we have back home and we need to adjust to it…It is about [being] patient and playing the long game.”

“It is more about the patience side of things, you are not going to go and blast quick runs over here. So, it’s about the patience game, and wear the bowlers down, and bat for a day or four sessions, and that is probably the biggest thing for the whole batting group.”

New Zealand reached the African nation earlier last week, and played a tour match against Zimbabwe XI. wicketkeeper-batsman also spoke of the importance of that game, which his side won by 259 runs. “It was a good three days for the whole group. Everyone spent a little bit time at the crease and got enough overs under their belt to put them in good stead for the Test match coming up.”

“That’s the beauty of coming over nice and early. We have not played a Test for a while and it is about getting used to the long form and being patient with all facets of the game. Certainly a beneficial couple of weeks for us, and I know the boys are looking forward to the first Test.”