New Zealand captain Kane Williamson is set for international return as head coach Gary Stead has announced his inclusion in the 2023 World Cup squad, a tournament set to commence on October 5th. The classy right-handed batter was initially doubtful for the tournament due to the knee injury sustained in IPL 2023.
Williamson, playing for the Gujarat Titans, suffered a severe knee injury while fielding at the boundary during the very first match of IPL 2023 and was ruled out of the remaining matches. The 33-year-old underwent surgery for the same and was on a clock for World Cup participation, but has now been confirmed for the event.
Head coach Gary Stead stated that Williamson has put all the efforts required to play again at the highest level and they are delighted at his selection. As quoted by nzc.nz, he stated:
"Kane has applied phenomenal dedication to his rehabilitation and has been supported by a strong group of experts around him. He’s left no stone unturned in trying to get back playing cricket at the highest level. We are delighted to be in a place to select him. At the same time, he’s also kept perspective about his recovery and hasn’t wanted to rush or force his way back too early. As we’ve previously said, it’s great he wants to play cricket for New Zealand in the long term."
"We will continue to monitor his progress over the next month" - Gary Stead
However, Stead also warned that Williamson has to continue his progress to be ready to face England when the competition kicks off on October 5th. He added:
"As we’ve said throughout this process, we want to give Kane every bit of available time to aid his recovery. Through this entire process I have tried to keep an open mind on when I might be able to return to cricket and not get too focused on one date or match. Being selected doesn’t change that and I know there’s still work to do and day by day goals to tick off to get back on the field with the team."
The rest of the squad will be announced on September 11th. The Kiwis were runners-up in the 2019 World Cup.