New Zealand’s star batter, Kane Williamson, is poised to be included in the ODI World Cup 2023 squad, although his availability for the tournament remains uncertain.

Kane Williamson’s injury and subsequent events

Williamson suffered a knee injury on March 31 while fielding for Gujarat Titans (GT) during the opening Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 match against Chennai Super Kings (CSK). His injury occurred as he leaped near the boundary in an attempt to catch a ball destined for six, resulting in an awkward landing on his right leg, prompting an immediate grasp of his knee. As a consequence, the 33-year-old returned to New Zealand and underwent surgery in June. Since his surgery, Williamson has undergone rehabilitation and missed Blackcaps’s international season. He was notably absent from the Kiwi squads for the ODI and T20I series against England.

Gary Stead garnered praise for Williamson’s dedication

However, in the latest update, Gary Stead, the New Zealand head coach, has affirmed Williamson’s eligibility for selection. Stead commended the skipper’s unwavering commitment during the rehabilitation process.

“Kane has applied phenomenal dedication to his rehabilitation and has been supported by a strong group of experts around him. He’s left no stone unturned in trying to get back playing cricket at the highest level. We are delighted to be in a place to select him,” Stead was quoted as saying by the ICC.

Also READ: New Zealand announces squad for ODI series against Bangladesh; Lockie Ferguson takes helm as captain

Stead confident about Kane’s comeback but cautious about rushing it

Stead also underscored the importance of prudently monitoring Williamson’s recovery and avoiding any haste in his return, given the World Cup’s extended duration.

“At the same time, he’s also kept perspective about his recovery and hasn’t wanted to rush or force his way back too early. As we’ve previously said, it’s great he wants to play cricket for New Zealand in the long term,” the 51-year-old added.

“As we’ve said throughout this process we want to give Kane every bit of available time to aid his recovery. The World Cup is not a short tournament and we will continue to monitor his progress over the next month ahead of the first tournament match,” Stead concluded.

In the 2019 global showpiece event, Williamson was a standout performer, amassing 578 runs in nine innings and playing a pivotal role as both captain and batter in steering his team to the final. Additionally, the Tauranga-born cricketer played a significant role in his team’s journey to the final in the 2015 edition of the ODI World Cup held in Australia and New Zealand.

The upcoming World Cup is scheduled to kick off with a showdown between New Zealand and England, the finalists from the previous edition, on October 5, at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, India.

New Zealand will announce their 15-member CWC squad on September 11.

Also READ: New Zealand’s ODI captain Kane Williamson gives update about his injury status

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