Picture Credit: Twitter

Picture Credit: Twitter

The New Zealand cricket team is ready to take a gamble on their star batsman and captain, Kane Williamson, who is recovering from a serious injury, for the upcoming ICC ODI World Cup 2023 in India. Williamson suffered a ruptured right ACL while playing for Gujarat Titans in the Indian Premier League (IPL) in April and has been undergoing a rigorous rehabilitation program ever since.

The 31-year-old skipper has not given up on his World Cup dream and is working on a "week-to-week" basis to regain his fitness and form. The WTC winner recently posted a video of himself batting in the nets, raising hopes among his fans and teammates that he might be able to join the squad in time for the mega event.

New Zealand coach Gary Stead said that the selectors will give Williamson every chance to prove his fitness and will consider naming him in the World Cup squad even if he is not available for the initial matches. Stead said that Williamson's selection will depend on the advice of the medical experts and his progress in the next few weeks.

“Kane’s working on a day-by-day, week-by-week process and we’ve been clear and careful with him that we don’t look too far ahead,” Stead said. “He’s progressed as we’ve hoped and possibly even better in some cases.But ACL injuries can be difficult, they’re different for every person. We’ll get the medical experts around Kane as much as we can to help us make that decision in three weeks.”

Stead added that if Williamson shows promising signs of recovery, the selectors and the coach are considering giving him some fitness leeway and including him in the squad even if he has to miss some matches. He said that Williamson's presence and leadership are invaluable for the team, and he would be worth the risk.

"If it's the knockout stages, then that might be too late, as that's something that you may not even be there, but if it was earlier in the World Cup, we'd definitely be considering it," Stead said. "We couldn't have asked for more from him in that space. It's encouraging to see where he's at and how he's going, but that doesn't promise that he'll be part of this World Cup squad just yet," he further quoted.

Williamson has been arguably the Kiwis’ most important player for some years now as he has scored 6554 runs with an average of 47.8 in 151 matches while also striking at 81.0. New Zealand are already short staffed as all-rounder Michael Bracewell is out of the World Cup with an Achilles tendon injury. 

New Zealand will kick start their ODI World Cup campaign against England on October 5 in Mumbai.