There are not many better sights in modern cricket than that of Kane Williamson's back foot cover drive. The amount of time he seems to have before the ball reaches his bat seems to be longer than that of other batsmen. It’s not of course. The illusion is a direct indication of his extraordinary skill. It's a skill that's always been evident, but one he has honed and worked on.
While his more memorable shots are the back foot cover drives, the most effective ones are the way he manages to run balls behind square on the off side or walk across the stumps and tuck a ball into the leg side for one or sometimes four.
As a schoolboy, Williamson is said to have diligently written down every score he made on the back of his cricket bat. It helped motivate him to never have to write a low score on the willow. His desire for runs saw him write down three figures 40 times in high school matches. Even as a twelve-year-old, playing in the intermediate school cup his only innings that was not a century was an unbeaten 91.
That same hunger for runs has also been evident in his international cricket game. Despite only being 28, he's already got more test centuries than any other New Zealander, and only his penchant for getting out in the 90s has prevented him from having a large lead over anyone else.
The concern for New Zealand (and for Williamson) is the Kiwi captain's recent white ball form. In the last 18 months both his average and strike-rate have been well below what he's used to achieving. Teams have started packing the slips cordon and then bowling length balls outside off stump, leaving him in two minds about how to play. He will need to have a strategy against this line of attack if he's to be successful in the World Cup.
Williamson has also been an effective off-spin bowler, but he was called for an illegal action in 2014, and he has not trusted his remodelled action with many overs since taking over as captain.