New Zealand will miss the services of their regular skipper and ace batter Kane Williamson when they kick-off their ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 campaign against defending champions England in Ahmedabad on October 5.
Notably, Williamson is yet to fully recover from the knee injury he suffered during this year’s IPL. The New Zealand team management are in no mood to risk the veteran batter for the rigours of international cricket.
Williamson, 33, hurt his knee while fielding during the IPL 2023 opener between Gujarat Titans and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in April this year. Since that injury, the Kiwi skipper hasn’t featured in any competitive cricket.
However, Williamson is playing today’s warm-up game against Pakistan in Hyderabad but will only bat.
“Right from the start we’ve taken a long-term view on Kane’s return to play,” New Zealand head coach Gary Stead said on Friday.
“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,” he added.
Williamson was included in New Zealand’s 15-member squad despite his injury with the team management hopefull of him to attain full fit during the marquee event.
Before leaving for India for the 2023 World Cup, Williamson had said he’s feeling better than before.
“It’s just wanting to progress [with] what I am doing now – the running, the fielding, and also time in the middle with the bat. The load is going to keep increasing, so there is a little bit of an unknown. But it has felt pretty good really in the last few weeks, [I’m] hoping it continues to feel like that. But we’re definitely looking to touch on more stuff, [and] introducing myself into the game mode, which is something which we haven’t had the opportunity to do,” Williamson had said.
The BlackCaps, who finished as runners-up in 2019 edition of the ODI World Cup, will be up against defending champions England at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad in the tournament opener on October 5.