New Zealand batter Kane Williamson is expected to be with his side during the ODI World Cup 2023 despite his injury as the team management is likely to rope him in as a mentor. However, New Zealand head coach Gary Stead feels that there’s still hope for Williamson playing in the marquee tournament.
The star New Zealand batter suffered a ruptured Anterior Cruciate Ligament in his right knee. He was fielding during the opening game of IPL 2023 between Gujarat Titans and Chennai Super Kings on March 31. Williamson immediately returned home from India as he was seen walking with crutches and underwent a successful surgery. The Kiwi ODI captain is undergoing rehab with his knee still in a brace. He is likely to miss out from the ODI World Cup 2023.
“Look, it’s still far too early to know. He’s had the operation and, to date, what we know, that’s been successful. So he is in the very, very early stages of his rehab programme,” Stead was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.
“It’s obviously pretty non-weight-bearing at this stage, and he’s in a brace. So, it’s really just meeting milestones as we go. Our line around Kane, at the moment, is still it’s unlikely that he will be available, but we certainly don’t want to rule out a person of his class and calibre, and the things he brings to this team, too early in case there is that chance still. Yeah, absolutely [would take him to India as a mentor,” the New Zealand Head coach added.
With Williamson’s absence from the ODI World Cup, the team will be eager to find an ideal replacement for the stalwart, who finsihed the 2019 editions as the ‘Player of the Tournament’. Luckily, Mark Chapman has emerged as the ‘knight in the shining armour’ for the Kiwis as he finished as the leading run scorer in the recent five-match T20I series against Pakistan with 290 runs to his name from five innings.
Mark Chapman is one guy who is in our thoughts for World Cup: Gary Stead
The 28-year-old has played just five ODIs for New Zealand since his debut in the format in 2018. However, Chapman is a great player of spin which makes him a great contender for the World Cup squad. After his recent heroics against Pakistan, Stead believes that Chapman may make his way into the ODI World Cup.
“It was not just one knock about Mark Chapman why he was added to the ODI squad, but there is a lot of competition for places and it’s not so much about the competition, but it’s how we keep building towards the World Cup. And Mark Chapman is one guy who is in our thoughts around that,” Stead further said praising Chapman.