New Zealand cricket fans are holding their breath as Kane Williamson, the nation's cricketing stalwart, opens up about the uncertainties surrounding his participation in the upcoming ODI World Cup in India, slated for October.
The renowned batsman, who underwent surgery in April for a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee, has shared insights into his recovery journey and the challenges he faces.
Speaking at the Bay Oval, Williamson expressed both his aspiration and the inherent unpredictability of his situation: “To be at the World Cup is always special.
It's still just guesswork at the moment in terms of when the day is or how it's tracking at the time.” With a cautious optimism, he revealed that he is meticulously adhering to the rehabilitation program guided by the medical experts, support staff, and New Zealand Cricket.
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Williamson's steps to recovery have been marked by small but significant milestones, such as a recent video from August 1 that showcased him taking throwdowns in the nets.
While he hasn't advanced to facing bowling yet, he conveyed his contentment with the gradual improvement in the movement of his knee.
"To have a focus and see some of those steps and tick some of those off keeps you quite motivated"— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) June 26, 2023
Hear from Kane Williamson about his rehabilitation progress since injuring his knee in March. pic.twitter.com/le1mjneu2h
Kane Williamson: Chances to make World Cup 2023 are slim
The impending World Cup serves as a source of motivation for the New Zealand white-ball captain, who explained, “Yeah, obviously slim, and still, you know, a tough goal.
“However, something like that [World Cup] in the back of your mind is obviously motivating and you want to keep seeing those improvements.”
Amid his positive strides, Kane Williamson remained grounded in his approach, refraining from setting unrealistic timelines.
While he expressed his eagerness to join the New Zealand side during the T20Is and ODIs in England, he acknowledged that the tour of Bangladesh for three ODIs in late September might be “a bit early” in terms of his recovery process.
“Yeah, good, just kind of on that same journey path really where there's been some nice little progressions and working through some of those little milestones and return to the running phase, which I am in at the moment,” Williamson said of his recovery.
“It has been nice to get back on the feet a little bit more and sort of get more into the net sessions and get slightly more involved as well. [There is] definitely more movement.
“I suppose that's almost the name of the game…let's get the strength and the movement to improve throughout. It is obviously a bit of a slow journey, as a number of others are experiencing.”
As he continues to balance strength-building, movement, confidence, and healing, Kane Williamson underlined the importance of a holistic approach to recovery.
“You can have the strength work, the movement, the confidence, but the actual healing is what has to happen and there are a lot of things to really assess before that time. So, that [Bangladesh] series, by all accounts, is too early.”
He has also amped up the work behind the scenes in the nets and feels that he is progressing well to take the bowlers on.
“Yeah, still, throws and things, working through some of those positions. I never really had to break it down so much ever in terms of some of the spin work, the variation and links, all these sorts of things that you never thought too much about,” he said.
“Now, you're really trying to exaggerate some of the movements and get them better prepared for the higher intensity stuff. But you know, it is progressing nicely, and hopefully not too far away, really from both.”
Williamson's return to the cricketing arena is awaited with bated breath, and his dedication to the meticulous recovery process resonates deeply with fans.
While the prospect of the World Cup remains uncertain, Williamson's commitment to his team and his steady progress hint at a future return that could potentially inspire the nation.
There are also rumours of him playing a mentorship role with the New Zealand team at the World Cup should he miss the event as a player.