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New Zealand captain Kane Williamson will miss the opening game of the ICC Cricket World Cup against England as he continues to progress his knee rehabilitation. Williamson will play as a batsman-only in today's first warm-up match against Pakistan in Hyderabad, with the aim of batting and fielding in Monday's second and final warm-up against South Africa in Trivandrum.
New Zealand Captain Kane Williamson To Miss World Cup Opener Against England
The ODI World Cup 2023 opening match against England will not feature New Zealand captain Kane Williamson due to his ongoing recovery from knee surgery. However, Williamson is set to participate as a specialist batter in their warm-up match against Pakistan in Hyderabad on September 29. The goal is for him to field and bat in their following warm-up game against South Africa in Thiruvananthapuram on October 2. Tom Latham will captain the side in today's first warm-up match against Pakistan in Hyderabad
"Right from the start, we've taken a long-term view on Kane's return to play. His recovery is tracking well, and it's now a matter of ensuring 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," New Zealand's head coach Gary Stead said.
Team News | Kane Williamson will miss the opening game of the @cricketworldcup against England, as he continues to progress his knee rehabilitation. Williamson will play as a batsman-only in today's first warm-up match against Pakistan. https://t.co/8rRQZ2trvV #CWC23— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) September 29, 2023
Kane Williamson took a six-month break from the game after undergoing surgery for a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the opening match of IPL 2023. He spent this time rehabilitating in England alongside the national team. With a strong desire to be involved, he is now returning to play in the World Cup warm-up matches.
"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. 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," Williamson said ahead of the team's departure to India earlier this week.
In Kane Williamson's absence, Tom Latham will captain New Zealand in the World Cup opener against England on October 5 in Ahmedabad. Latham will also lead in the two warm-up matches, with Williamson focusing on getting fit in time for New Zealand's second World Cup game against the Netherlands on October 9.