New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson is racing against time to prove his fitness for the upcoming ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, slated to be held in India from October 5 to November 19.
On Monday (August 28), Kiwi head coach Gary Stead said that the next two weeks are crucial for Williamson to demonstrate his fitness.
Williamson ruptured anterior cruciate ligament of his right knee while fielding for Gujarat Titans in the IPL 2023 opener against Chennai Super Kings on March 31. Since then, the 33-year-old has shown promising recovery progress, actively participating in batting sessions in the nets.
As per the ICC rules, the participating teams need to finalize their World Cup squads prior to September 28.
"We've got about two weeks from now until we name that side," Stead told New Zealand media.
"We're going to give him every chance to use that full amount of time. He's in full rehab mode, he's back batting in the nets again, which is great to see.
"He's progressing really well, but there's a lot of work for him still to do to make sure he gets where we need him to be."
Kane Williamson is a valuable commodity for New Zealand across formats with his batting and captaincy. He led the BlackCaps to the final of the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales. In 161 ODIs so far, the right-hander has amassed 6555 runs at an average of 47.85 with 13 hundreds.
As part of his recovery bid, Williamson is currently travelling with the New Zealand squad on their white-ball tour of England.
"Of course we want him at the World Cup, but there is that bigger picture that we want Kane Williamson fit for the rest of his career," added Stead.
"There will be honest conversations that Kane and I will have around exactly where he is at."
New Zealand will open their 2023 World Cup campaign against defending champions England at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on October 5.
(With AFP Inputs)