Kane Williamson could potentially join the New Zealand squad for the ODI World Cup in India later this year in a mentorship capacity, even as head coach Gary Stead refrains from ruling him out as a player.
Williamson had returned home from India on crutches after sustaining a ruptured Anterior Cruciate Ligament in his right knee during the first game of IPL 2023 for Gujarat Titans. He has since undergone a successful surgery and is in the early stages of recovery.
Stead commented that it is still too early to know if Williamson will be available, but they do not want to rule out someone of his caliber too soon. If he cannot play, they would absolutely consider taking him to India as a mentor.
The ODI World Cup is scheduled to take place from October 5 to November 19, but the specific details have not been released yet. This delay has made it difficult for New Zealand to finalize plans.
“Look, it is still far too early to know,” Stead said ahead of the five-match ODI series in Pakistan as quoted by ESPNCricinfo.
“He has had the operation and, to date, what we know, that has been successful. So he is in the very, very early stages of his rehab programme.”
“It is obviously pretty non-weight-bearing at this stage, and he is in a brace. So, it is really just meeting milestones as we go. Our line around Kane, at the moment, is still it is unlikely that he will be available, but we certainly do not want to rule out a person of his class and calibre, and the things he brings to this team, too early in case there is that chance still. Yeah, absolutely [would take him to India as a mentor],” concluded the coach.
In Williamson’s absence, along with other first-choice players, Mark Chapman has emerged as a strong contender, scoring an unbeaten 104 off 57 balls in the T20I series against Pakistan. He has been included in New Zealand’s ODI team and is also in contention for the ODI World Cup.
Chapman’s excellent performance against spin is attributed to his experience playing in Asian and subcontinental conditions during his early years with Hong Kong.
New Zealand’s five-match ODI series against Pakistan is set to begin today.