Kane Williamson ruled out of New Zealand World Cup opener against England

New Zealand will be without their skipper Kane Williamson when they begin their World Cup journey against England on 5 October in Ahmedabad.

The Blackcaps’ star batter is recovering from a knee injury and will only bat in the first practice match, with the aim of fielding in the second.

Photo by Icon Sport

Kane Williamson's injury status ahead of the World Cup

The Kiwi captain is recovering from his surgery for an ACL injury that he suffered in the opening game of the 2023 IPL, which kept him out of action for six months. New Zealand are lucky to have their talisman back after it looked like he may not be able to make it to the World Cup.

“Right from the start we've taken a long-term view on Kane's return to play,” New Zealand's head coach Gary Stead said. 

“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,” Stead reassured. 

Williamson sheds light on his recovery

Williamson himself said that he felt good and believed that he would be fit to play a significant role in the World Cup before his team left for India. New Zealand’s all-time top run scorer in the Test matches emphasized the importance of following a process.

“It's just wanting to progress [with] what I am doing now – the running, the fielding, and also time in the middle with the bat,” Williamson spoke about his condition and expectations before going into the mega event. 

“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.”

What does Williamson’s absence mean for New Zealand?

New Zealand has a very balanced line-up and is one of the more fancied teams in the World Cup. However, without their captain and star man, the Kiwis lack the anchor who sets the tone of the innings with his batting and also the leader who marshalls the troops. 

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In Williamson’s absence, wicket-keeper Tom Latham will be captaining the side against England.

New Zealand World Cup Squad

Kane Williamson (c), Trent Boult, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitch Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Will Young.