New Zealand have not ruled out the recovering Kane Williamson from the ODI World Cup in India even if it means missing the first few fixtures. Head coach Gary Stead and the team management are optimistic about Williamson’s recovery. The star batter hasn’t played any cricket since March when he ruptured the ACL in his right knee while fielding for Gujarat Titans. He underwent surgery in April and has recently begun training and batting in the nets. The 33-year-old is also set to link up with the team during its series against England next month ahead of the World Cup.
“Kane’s working on a day-by-day, week-by-week process and we’ve been really clear and careful with him that we don’t look too far ahead and get expectations too big or not big enough at times as well,” Stead told reporters on Wednesday.
“We will take every measure we can to make sure that we get the medical advice that lines up and he’s where we want him to be before we make that call on whether he goes (to India for the World Cup) or not.” New Zealand will play nine group stage matches while the semifinals begin on November 15.
Williamson had played a crucial role in New Zealand’s campaign in 2015 and 2019 editions when they reached successive finals.
Stead said the Black Caps will be considering including him even if he misses the first few fixtures.
“I think that’s something we are talking about at the moment. If it’s the knockout stages, I think that might be too late because you’re really saying something that you may or may not even be there, but if it was earlier in the World Cup we’d definitely be considering it.” The Black Caps have to name their World Cup squad of 15 by September 5, a month before the tournament commences.
Tom Latham, who has been leading New Zealand in Williamson’s absence, will be captaining the side in the marquee event as well.
“Obviously with the knee and the way it is we have to be careful with how that twists, so he’s still in that healing and rehab phase, so it’s getting that fine balance between pushing him as far as he can go but making sure we don’t cross that line and do more damage,” Stead said.
“He’s progressed as we’ve hoped and possibly even better in some cases but you know with ACL injuries that they can be difficult, and different for every person as well.
“As I said, we’ll try and get the medical experts around Kane as much as we can to help us make that decision in about three weeks’ time,” Stead added.
The World Cup begins on October 5 with New Zealand taking on reigning champions England in the tournament opener.
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