New Zealand’s hopes of having Kane Williamson lead their squad in the upcoming 2023 ODI World Cup are still alive as head coach Gary Stead announced that they will provide the captain with the next two weeks to demonstrate his fitness and secure his spot in the squad.
Williamson had suffered a ruptured ACL in his right knee during this year’s IPL opener on March 31, leading to immediate surgery. While he is now engaged in rehabilitation and batting practice, he has acknowledged that participating in the prestigious event in India from October to November this year may be a challenge.
New Zealand Head Coach said
Stead, who previously stated his willingness to include an unfit Williamson as a team mentor if necessary, has expressed optimism regarding Williamson’s recovery.
“We’ve got about two weeks from now until we name that side. [We are] going to give him every chance and use that full amount of time,” Stead affirmed.
The coach shared a positive update on Williamson’s rehabilitation progress, mentioning that the cricketer is back to batting practice. However, Stead acknowledged that there is significant work left before making a final decision on Williamson’s inclusion in the World Cup squad. Even if he is selected, Williamson might not be fully match-fit in the initial phase of the tournament.
Stead elaborated, “He’s in full rehab mode, he’s back batting in the nets again which is great to see. He’s progressing really well but again there’s a lot of work for him still to do to make sure he gets to where we need him to be. They are all the things we are weighing up right now. There’s a chance that even if Kane was named that he wouldn’t be available right at the start of the tournament. But he also might be, and he also might not be ready.”
Acknowledging the uncertainty surrounding Williamson’s fitness, Stead emphasized the need for candid conversations with the player. He highlighted the importance of considering not just the immediate World Cup, but also Williamson’s long-term well-being.
New Zealand’s campaign in the 2023 World Cup commences with a match against defending champions England in Ahmedabad on October 5.