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Sonny Bill Williams to play cricket

Sonny Bill Williams is fired up and ready to play cricket, or petanque, or whatever pays, really.

Sonny Bill Williams is fired up and ready to play cricket, or petanque, or whatever pays, really.

Following days of speculation about whether or not he would return to rugby union or continue playing league for the Sydney Roosters, Sonny Bill Williams has this afternoon announced that he will be playing neither sport, and has instead signed a deal to play cricket with the Black Caps.

In a statement sent to media just this afternoon, Williams said the decision had been an “extremely difficult one,” and was still weighing on him. He reaffirmed his passion for “fast-paced, intense contact sports, which, naturally, is what drew me to cricket.”

Williams said he had first been inspired to play cricket a few years ago, when the New Zealand Cricket Board ran an advertising campaign with the slogan “Anything can happen.”

“I mean, wow, the idea that anything can happen? That’s pretty neat,” he explained. “In rugby, we have rules, and they’re a bitch.”

Black Caps coach Mike Hesson said Sonny Bill had been on the green playing cricket with the team “for days now,” and while he did not yet have a full grasp of all the rules, “or any of them, really,” he clearly had a passion for the game.

“Well you have to understand that Sonny’s only been playing the game for – what? – two or three days now,” he said. “He still has to understand that the bat isn’t a weapon, and he’s not quite yet comfortable with the fact that he can’t tackle the wicket-keeper. But we’re confident that, with enough practice, he’ll be ready to play Bangladesh in a little over a week.

“I think he just has to accept that, actually, the number of things that can happen is quite limited.”

Williams’ sudden and unexpected career change follows his rejection last week of an offer to host the 2013 APEC summit.