In a massive blow to New Zealand, their white-ball skipper Kane Williamson will undergo surgery on his injured right knee and, as a result, will likely miss the upcoming World Cup in India. The scans confirmed that Williamson had ruptured his Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). The 32-year-old was carried off the field after injuring his knee while fielding for Gujarat Titans (GT) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 season opener against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in Ahmedabad on Friday (March 31).
Williamson is set to undergo surgery in the next three weeks and the according to the standard rehabilitation timelines he could be out for months, effectively ending his chances of leading Blackcaps in the mega event once again. The batter led his side to the World Cup final in 2019, losing to England in the Summit clash at Lord's.
After learning his fate, Williamson acknowledged and thanked everyone associated with GT and New Zealand Cricket for their support. “I’ve received great support over the past few days and want to thank both the Gujarat Titans and New Zealand Cricket for that," Williamson said.
“Naturally it’s disappointing to get such an injury, but my focus now is on having the surgery and starting rehab. It’s going to take some time, but I’ll be doing everything I can to get back on the field as soon as possible.”
Williamson added that he would continue supporting the team in whichever way possible over the next few months. “I look forward to doing what I can to support Gary and the team over the next few months.”
Head coach Gary Stead has yet to rule out Williamson's participation from the World Cup completely. "From our perspective, we certainly haven't given up hope on that, and Kane will meet a number of milestones in the next six months or so," Stead said.
"You take Kane the player, for a first start, but then Kane the leader and the person he is within our group as well, it's Kane a huge spanner in the works for us. Our first thoughts, obviously, are with Kane at the moment, it's a tough time for him, it's not an injury that you expect is going to happen, it comes out of the blue and it obviously hits you pretty hard at the time."
Williamson took home the player of the tournament award following a stellar show with the bat in the 2019 World Cup, scoring 578 runs at 82.57, which included two hundreds and as many fifties.