Kane Williamson ruled out of World Cup opener against England

The New Zealand captain might have to wait to take part in the World Cup

Sonia Twigg
Friday 29 September 2023 08:21 BST
Kane Williamson has been ruled out of the World Cup opener against England
Kane Williamson has been ruled out of the World Cup opener against England (Action Images via Reuters)

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson has been ruled out of the 2023 ICCCricket World Cup opening match against title-holders England.

It had already been a battle to get Williamson fit enough to feature in the tournament after he sustained an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in the first match of the Indian Premier League six months ago and required surgery.

In a repeat of the 2019 thrilling super-over final at Lord’s, England will take on New Zealand in the first match of the tournament on 5 October at the 134,000-seater stadium in Ahmedabad.

Williamson is expected to play as a specialist batter during New Zealand’s behind-closed-doors warm-up match against Pakistan in Hyderabad, a game in which teams are allowed to use their full squads as they will not be given ODI status.

“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, reported by espncricinfo.

“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.”

Williamson could field and bat against South Africa in the second warm-up game on Monday, but the show-stopper opening match against England could come a bit too soon.

If Williamson does not take to the field, Tom Latham is expected to captain the Kiwis, and is also likely to take charge during the warm-up matches to allow the experienced batter to focus on recovery.

Williamson is one of the best batters in the world across all three formats and has also been captain of the team in all formats since 2016 and the retirement of current England Test coach Brendon McCullum.

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