The Art Of Being Kane Williamson

Kane Williamson acknowledging the appreciation from the crowd after hitting a match winning century at Edgbaston, against South Africa, CWC’19
Picture Courtesy: ESPN Cricinfo

Termed by many as the coolest head alongside Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the current era, Kane is already a Kiwi giant and is on the verge of achieving greatness.

February 28, 2015. ICC Cricket World Cup. Auckland. It was the battle between the two neighbouring nations, Australia and New Zealand. Chasing a modest total of 152, Brendon McCullum came out, like he always does, all guns blazing. But all of a sudden, courtesy a fiery Starc spell, the Kiwis slipped from 78 for no loss to 79 for the loss of four wickets and then to 146 for nine. Starc had just finished his ninth over, and six runs were still required.

It was a case of touch and go, and from an unlikely position, the Aussies had victory in sight. But the 5 foot 9 inches, 24-year-old, Kane Williamson had other ideas. Pat Cummins came in to bowl the 24th over, and on the very first ball, Kane made room and hit the ball over long-on for a maximum. That was that. New Zealand had won the thriller.

It wasn’t the first time that Kane had won a match for his nation, but given the World Cup pressure (add to that the pressure of being the host nation), and the fragile situation they were in, that was one of the shots of the tournament.

Many things have changed since that match. Barack Obama isn’t the American President anymore. Brexit is a reality. Iron Man is dead. Bob Dylan now has a Nobel Prize. New Zealand has lost two consecutive World Cup Finals, but the aura of Kane Williamson has remained all the same.

Born in a sports-loving family, Kane was what you call a prodigy and already had around 40 centuries before he left school. In 2010, after getting out on successive ducks in the first two one day innings of his career, he showed his prowess, hitting a century against Bangladesh in Dhaka. In the same year, he started his test career with a defiant 131 off 299 balls against India in India (we know how difficult it has been, in recent years, to score a century against India in India, let alone on debut).

A batsman par excellence, Kane has the technique, patience and concentration required to excel on an international level. When in flow, which is more often than not, he is immaculate. His gap piercing shots are a sight to behold. A natural test player, he has adopted the shorter formats as a fish takes to water.

Along the years, Kane has played a number of fine knocks for his side, but one of his most important ones came in the recently concluded World Cup in England and Wales, against South Africa. Chasing 242 in 49 overs (due to rain), wickets fell all around him. He didn’t panic and with the help of Neesham and Grandhomme, took the Kiwis home, completing his century in the last over with a six. There were many tense moments in the match – the missed review by SA, the wicket of Grandhomme, but the moment no one forgets was the dab he played on the last ball of the penultimate over off the bowling of Lungi Ngidi.

He later clarified that he just wanted a single off that ball, but the precision with which he guided the ball fetched him four runs and brought the winning margin from 12 to 8. Against West Indies, he made a mighty fine 148 off 154. Apart from these, there was the Williamson-Taylor partnership in the Semi-Final, which helped New Zealand humble India (the tournament favourites), at Old Trafford.

An astute captain, Kane understands the game probably better than any one of his contemporaries. He took over the reign of captaincy when Brendon McCullum retired from international cricket, and boy, isn’t he doing wonders. It was his shrewd captaincy that brought his IPL team Sunrisers Hyderabad to the finals of the last edition. This year he ALMOST captained his national side, New Zealand, to World Cup glory. He was, however, named the Captain of the ICC CWC’19 Team of the Tournament.

Cricket is a game of fine margins, and it was further proven on the eve of 14th of July, at the home of cricket, Lord’s, when New Zealand lost to England on boundary count, after both the match and super over ended in a tie. Such is his grace that while everyone in the New Zealand camp was distraught, Kane Williamson stood on the sidelines, silently caressing his beard. When a TV presenter informed him that he was chosen as the Player of the Tournament, sounding dumbstruck, he asked, ‘Me?’. That said everything about the man.

An average nearing 53 in Tests, around 48 in ODIs and more than 31 in T20Is along with 33 centuries and 78 half-centuries tells you why he is spoken so highly of in world cricket. But it’s not only these stats which make him one of the best in the business; it’s his simplicity, it’s the calmness inside his head, it’s the spirit with which he plays the game. Termed by many as the coolest head alongside Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the current era, Kane is already a Kiwi giant and is on the verge of achieving greatness.

Thank You, Kane Williamson, for gracing this beautiful game.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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