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Kane Williamson has Two Weeks to Prove Fitness for World Cup Campaign

With just two weeks remaining before the cutoff date for the ICC ODI World Cup squad submissions, New Zealand’s Kane Williamson is engaged in a race against time to demonstrate his full fitness and reclaim his leadership role for the Kiwis.

Williamson’s World Cup journey took an unexpected turn earlier this year when a knee injury, sustained during the opening match of the Indian Premier League 2023 in March, cast doubts on his participation in the year’s marquee event. However, the 33-year-old cricketer has defied the odds and showcased remarkable progress in his recovery, rekindling hopes of leading his nation in the forthcoming 50-over spectacle.

A right-handed batter renowned for his exemplary skills, Williamson boasts an impressive ODI record with 6,555 runs to his name. His determination to regain form and fitness has intensified as he strives to secure his place in the 15-player squad for the six-week tournament set to commence in India on October 5.

The ICC stipulates that teams must submit their preliminary squad by September 5, followed by the final lists being lodged by the September 28 cutoff date. Modifications to the squad can only occur after this deadline with the approval of the ICC.

Gary Stead, the coach of New Zealand, provided insights into Williamson’s rehabilitation journey, highlighting his gradual return to batting form in practice sessions. “He’s progressing really well but again there’s a lot of work for him still to do to make sure he gets to where we need him to be,” Stead remarked, acknowledging the hurdles that still lie ahead.

Williamson’s significance to the Kiwi lineup is undeniable. In the previous World Cup edition, his performances were pivotal to New Zealand’s impressive run, where he notched two centuries and two half-centuries. Under his leadership, the team came agonizingly close to clinching their maiden World Cup title, losing a riveting final to England at Lord’s.

As anticipation builds for the upcoming World Cup, Stead emphasized the team’s meticulous approach to assessing Williamson’s fitness and the various scenarios that lie ahead. “There’s a chance that even if Kane was named that he wouldn’t be available right at the start of the tournament. But he also might be, and he also might not be ready,” Williamson acknowledged, reflecting on the uncertainties surrounding his participation.

Williamson, cognizant of the broader perspective, spoke about the careful balance between his immediate fitness concerns and his long-term cricketing career. “Yes, of course, we want him at the World Cup but there is that bigger picture in mind that we want Kane Williamson fit for the rest of his career,” he affirmed, highlighting the team’s commitment to his well-being.

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