What darts taught us about Kane WilliamsonSave
By Andrew Alderson
Sport fans learned three things about Kane Williamson last week in the Indian Premier League.
1. He is capable of exceptional darts.
2. Unbridled euphoria can access his veins.
3. Point 2 suggests his capacity to suppress emotion on the cricket field is peerless.
The revelations came via video from the SunRisers Hyderabad dressing room during a wet training session. Williamson and SRH IPL BFF David Warner stepped up to the oche to deliver a trio of arrows each. Naturally, given it's the 21st century, phones were poised to document the occasion.
Suddenly Williamson shoots a triple 20, then another. Just like a cricket match, interest piques to see if he can deliver a hat-trick. He obliges.
The dressing room erupts, but none more so than the New Zealand captain. He hugs Warner, gives the board a second check to confirm the feat, before careering off around the ping-pong table in a spontaneous jig.
The scene is compelling, considering Williamson is usually such a metronome of modesty. This is a man who celebrates test centuries like he's waving to a neighbour while strolling down the driveway to check the mailbox.
His uncharacteristic jubilation is the modern day equivalent of Sir Colin Meads fist-pumping after a try, or Sir Bob Charles high-fiving the front row of the gallery after shooting an eagle.
Without summoning Sigmund Freud, it adds to the enigma of how Williamson can suppress external feelings of uninhibited joy when clocking up batting milestones. You can tell he's chuffed, but one-man locomotions are a no-no. Maybe now he's Black Caps captain such achievements register more as relief? Hopefully not.
The only time Williamson hinted at such raw emotion in the home summer came after running out Josh Hazlewood to win the opening Chappell-Hadlee one-day international against Australia.
New Zealand were haemorrhaging runs as Marcus Stoinis opted to deposit the ball in the stands rather than along the ground.
Williamson had dropped a catch off him at deep mid-off, and missed a run out at short cover. Australia were 67 for six in the 19th over chasing 287, but a miraculous comeback loomed.
The skipper stationed himself at short mid-on with seven required to win. Tim Southee pitched full on middle-and-leg and Stoinis drove to Williamson. In a flash he underarmed at the non-striker stumps, leaving Hazlewood flailing.
Williamson leaned back and celebrated with fists clenched.
The other highlight of the darts scene was his camaraderie with Warner. The Australian might even be more excited than the New Zealander at the "180", a feat normally reserved for the likes of Phil "The Power" Taylor.
Warner gushes he's "proud of him" and that it's like "a hole-in-one at golf" as he whips out his phone to capture the evidence.
Williamson's eureka moment might be healthy in another respect.
The world's third-ranked Twenty20 batsman - and an opener in the format - has been relegated behind Warner and India's Shikhar Dhawan for SRH's opening four matches of IPL10.
The instinctive reaction is "what a waste of Williamson's talent". Conversely, the break from top level cricket might benefit him with the Champions Trophy looming in June.
He endured an intense maiden home summer as New Zealand captain, carrying the team at times. While still immersing himself in the IPL festival, any form of rest might help him relax.