Hyderabad, Sep 29 (IANS): New Zealand captain Kane Williamson will miss the opening game of the ICC Cricket World Cup against England, as he continues to progress his knee rehabilitation, New Zealand Cricket said on Friday.
Williamson is playing as a batsman-only in first warm-up match against Pakistan on Friday at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, with the aim of batting and fielding in Monday's second and final warm-up against South Africa in Trivandrum.
Speaking on Williamson's fitness, head coach Gary Stead said, "Right from the start we’ve taken a long-term view on Kane’s return to play. 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," Stead concluded.
Williamson made a comeback to competitive cricket following a six-month break due to an ACL rupture he sustained during the inaugural match of IPL 2023. He underwent surgery during this period of absence. He proceeded with his rehabilitation while in England, training alongside the national team.
During Williamson's absence, Tom Latham will assume the role of captain for New Zealand in the World Cup opener against England scheduled for October 5 in Ahmedabad. Latham will also be at the helm for the two warm-up matches.
Williamson's primary focus will be on regaining fitness for New Zealand's second World Cup game against the Netherlands, set to take place on October 9.