Kiwi captain Kane Williamson is set to miss the first match of the 2023 ODI World Cup against the reigning world champions England as he continues his recovery from knee surgery. The 33-year-old will take on the role of a specialist batter in side’s warm-up match against Pakistan in Hyderabad this Friday, with the goal of participating in both batting and fielding during their subsequent warm-up game against South Africa in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday.
The nation’s head coach Gary Stead said on the developments:
“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.”
After a six-month hiatus due to an anterior cruciate ligament injury sustained in the opening match of IPL 2023, Williamson underwent surgery and has been diligently undergoing rehabilitation in England alongside the national team. He expressed a strong desire to partake in the World Cup warm-up matches.
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 assume the role of captain for the Kiwis in the World Cup opener against England scheduled for October 5 in Ahmedabad. Latham will also lead in the two warm-up matches, while Williamson’s primary focus will be on achieving full fitness in time for side’s second World Cup encounter against the Netherlands on October 9.