Williamson to miss New Zealand’s World Cup opener against England


HYDERABAD: New Zealand captain Kane Williamson will miss the opening match of the 2023 ODI World Cup against England as he continues his recovery from knee surgery.

Williamson will play as a specialist batter in New Zealand’s warm-up match against Pakistan in Hyderabad on Friday, with the aim of fielding and batting in their next warm-up game against South Africa in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday.

“Right from the start we’ve taken a long-term view on Kane’s return to play,” New Zealand’s head coach Gary Stead said. “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.”

South African captain’s sudden return from World Cup

Williamson is returning from a six-month layoff after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the opening match of IPL 2023 and undergoing surgery. He continued his rehab in England along with the national side and had a “desire to be involved” in the World Cup warm-up matches.

“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,” Williamson had said ahead of the team’s departure to India earlier this week.

“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.”

In Williamson’s absence, Tom Latham will captain New Zealand in the World Cup opener against England on October 5 in Ahmedabad. Latham will also lead in the two warm-up matches, with Williamson’s focus purely on getting fit in time for New Zealand’s second World Cup game against the Netherlands on October 9.

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