New Zealand captain Kane Williamson won’t be in action for the Kiwis in their 2023 ODI World Cup opener against England at the Narendra Modi Stadium on October 5.
As per an official announcement from New Zealand Cricket, he will participate in the upcoming warm-up game against Pakistan on Friday at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad solely as a batsman.
Williamson sustained a knee injury during the inaugural match of the 2023 Indian Premier League (IPL) while playing for the Gujarat Titans (GT). This injury sidelined him, and he had a tight race against time to recover and secure a spot in New Zealand’s team for the 2023 ODI World Cup.
He joined the New Zealand squad during their tour of England, primarily for rehabilitation ahead of the World Cup. According to the official statement from New Zealand Cricket, there’s a possibility that the captain may also participate as a fielder in the team’s second warm-up match against South Africa on Monday, October 2.
“BLACKCAPS captain Kane Williamson will miss the opening game of the ICC Cricket World Cup against England, as he continues to progress his knee rehabilitation,” the statement read. “Williamson will play as a batsman-only in today’s first warm-up match against Pakistan in Hyderabad, with the aim of batting and fielding in Monday’s second and final warm-up against South Africa in Trivandrum.”
With Kane Williamson not available on the field, Tom Latham is set to take the helm in New Zealand’s initial warm-up game against Pakistan.
“We’ll continue to take a day-by-day approach to Kane’s rehabilitation” – New Zealand’s coach, Gary Stead
Kane Williamson’s inclusion in the World Cup squad was uncertain for some time, but he did secure his place despite not being fully recovered. New Zealand head coach Gary Stead had previously stated that the team would try to accommodate the senior batsman, even if he could only play in the latter part of the tournament.
Stead addressed the notable absence of the star player in the crucial opening World Cup match against England.
“Right from the start we’ve taken a long-term view on Kane’s return to play. His recovery is tracking well and it’s now a matter of making sure he can cope with the rigours and intensity of international cricket. We’ll continue to take a day by day approach to Kane’s rehabilitation and certainly won’t be putting any pressure on him to return before he is ready,” Stead continued.
Williamson’s most recent international involvement was during the home Test series against Sri Lanka in March 2023.