27 Sep 2023

Williamson on course for World Cup opener

11:03 am on 27 September 2023
Kane Williamson at training.

Kane Williamson at training. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Black Caps captain Kane Williamson could yet play in New Zealand's world cup opener against England next week.

Williamson has been in a race against time to play at the tournament after suffering a serious knee injury while playing in the Indian Premier League in April.

He was cautious about his participation when the World Cup squad was named earlier this month, but speaking ahead of his departure for India this morning, he was more confident about his participation.

Williamson says he'll use the two warmup games against Pakistan and South Africa to test his knee in playing conditions.

"Although it's (the knee) going well there are still days where it varies a bit and so it's working through those warmup games to get as much out of it as possible.

"There's a strong desire to be involved as much as I can (in the warmup games) and basically it's to progress from what I'm doing now.

"The running, the fielding and also time in the middle with the bat."

The 33 year old says running isn't an issue but he remains cautious about slowing down from a sprint quickly and any change of direction.

"There is still a bit to go with the overall part of it and so I'm banking all the good days.

"The knee has been relatively quiet and so I've been able to touch on different things day to day which has been a real bonus."

Kane Williamson trains on his own as he rehabs from ACL injury.

Kane Williamson trains on his own as he rehabs from ACL injury. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Williamson says the plan is for him to continue to field at mid-off which is better for his knee than anything square of the wicket.

While he experiences very little pain, he concedes that may change as the loading increases.

"There is a little bit of the unknown, but it's felt pretty good the last few weeks."

Williamson is set to play in his fourth world cup, as is pace bowler Tim Southee who has also been confirmed in the squad.

Southee continues to recover from the fractured thumb he suffered playing against England earlier this month.

He had surgery last week and coach Gary Stead says there is a chance he could also be available for selection for the opening game.