Hyderabad, Sep 30 (IANS): After making 54 off 50 balls on his return to competitive action in New Zealand’s warm-up match against Pakistan, Kane Williamson was pleased over how his right knee held up pretty well and added that achieving this wasn’t a reality over five months ago.
There were question marks over Williamson’s participation in the event after rupturing the ACL in his right knee in March, while fielding in the opening match of IPL 2023 for Gujarat Titans, and had to undergo surgery on return to home.
Since then, his rehab and recovery progressed in such a manner that he was able to play Friday’s warm-up match as a specialist batter, using his timing and wrists to perfection against Pakistan’s bowlers.
"Just great to get through some batting out in the middle and be part of a match, which was really nice and it (knee) held up pretty well. (It needed) a little bit of icing afterwards but it's all part of the process.”
“Yeah, it wasn't a reality certainly five months ago and (I've) been quite fortunate with some of that recovery and to be named in the squad is really exciting for me and just really looking forward to getting out there again. It was nice to do that in the match,” Williamson was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo after the match ended.
Williamson, unavailable for October 5 opening match against England in Ahmedabad, will be aiming to bat and field in the side’s second warm-up match against South Africa in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday. Though he hobbled on some occasions while batting on Friday, Williamson was able to share a 137-run partnership with centurion Rachin Ravindra.
"It was largely pretty good, which was pleasing. Nice to sort of build on that. It was a fantastic hit-out obviously. Pakistan are an outstanding side. I mean both teams were trying to get what they wanted out of it, in terms of bowlers getting overs they needed and time in the legs.”
“So, it's an exercise, but also nice to compete and do all those things. As a bowling unit and batting unit, plenty to take away from it. There's always things to work on and it was a great batting performance today. It was a really good surface and it's nice that we were able to put together partnerships and get time in the middle," he added.
Head coach Gary Stead was happy with Williamson's batting in the warm-up game and also explained how the side plans to ramp up his participation in a game in future. "It was great to see Kane out there albeit only with the bat.”
“We're hoping he will field 20-25 overs in the next game and we are slowly building him up towards that and making sure he can land and dive and do what he needs to do in the field to take full part for us in the future parts of the tournament."
"It was great to see Kane looking like he hadn't been away from the game. So, awesome to see and I think pretty warming overall from the team perspective that we know he's pretty close to getting to full fitness; not quite there yet, but we have another step on the way back."