12 Oct 2023

Kane Williamson set to play next World Cup game

9:04 am on 12 October 2023
Kane Williamson at training.

Kane Williamson will return for the Black Caps at the Cricket World Cup on Friday. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Black Caps skipper Kane Williamson is on track to return at the Cricket World Cup following a lengthy rehabilitation on his knee.

He will slot back in a side sitting at the top of the World Cup points table after two big wins over England and the Netherlands to kick off the tournament in India.

Williamson batted in the two warm-up games, his first cricket since rupturing his ACL during the IPL back in April, however he sat out the opening two matches of the World Cup.

Speaking to media from Chennai, coach Gary Stead confirmed his captain is in line to play against Bangladesh on Friday.

"He is progressing very, very well. He's had a great last five days and has really ramped up the fielding aspect of things, and that's the key thing for Kane at the moment."

Stead said the only concerns for Williamson are round his ability to run between the wickets and field and to consistently over a 50-over game.

"We're delighted where he is at, we've got two more trainings still to get through but at this stage, all things are looking good that Kane will return in this game. We still sort of say that with an error of caution though I'm really pleased with the way he has been been coming on."

Though plenty have stepped up in his absence, Stead said if Williamson is available, he will play.

"There's no doubt about that. he's one of the best players in the world."

On the other injury front, Tim Southee who fractured his thumb fielding against England in September, will also make his comeback.

Tim Southee

Tim Southee will return to the Black Caps after fracturing his thumb. Photo: Photosport

"He's tracking well, it looks like the thumb has set. He's been bowling at full intensity the last couple of training sessions so he's certainly available for selection."

The return of his most experienced duo may cause some selection headaches for Stead.

Opener Rachin Ravindra essentially inked his name on the teamsheet after he became an overnight sensation in his country of birth, following a stunning 123 not out in the opener against defending champions England backed up by a half century against the Dutch.

"His batting was incredible that first game. He's taken the opportunities in front of him, he's been great. When you start doing that it becomes difficult to to leave someone like that out and I think the conditions also tend to suit a player like him."

He said it's been a special few weeks for the young all rounder.

"I think having the Indian heritage as well has certainly been great for Rach. They look at him and see a piece of India which I think is really special for him and it's nice he gets to go places where where a lot of his family have been brought up, and that's pretty cool to see."

Stead said the conditions in India have tested his troops as the move camp to Chennai.

"It's an environment that can be changing and and we're certainly going in with open eyes. You will get situations here where it does look like a very good wicket and other times that might look good but doesn't play quite so well, and it's very challenging."

Stead said the side is leaning heavily on likes of Mitch Santner and Devon Conway, who have played for Chennai in the IPL.

The Black Caps play their third World Cup fixture against the Tigers at 9.30pm on Friday.

New Zealand's Rachin Ravindra batting against the Netherlands, 2023 World Cup in Hyderabad.

It's been a memorable few weeks for Black Caps allrounder Rachin Ravindra. Photo: PHOTOSPORT