July 23, 2024

NZ captain Kane Williamson fractures thumb but will stay at Cricket World Cup

New Zealand’s captain and star batsman Kane Williamson has fractured his thumb during the World Cup match against Bangladesh, but he has not been ruled out of the tournament. Read more about how he got injured, who will replace him in the squad, who will lead the team in his absence, and when he can return to action.

New Zealand have received a major blow as their captain and star batsman Kane Williamson has been diagnosed with a fractured thumb, which he sustained during their World Cup match against Bangladesh on Friday. However, the Kiwi skipper has not been ruled out of the tournament, and will remain with the squad in India, hoping to recover in time for the later stages of the competition.

How did Williamson get injured?

Williamson was batting on 78 in New Zealand’s chase of 192 against Bangladesh in Chennai, when he was hit on the left thumb by a throw from the deep as he completed a single. He immediately grimaced in pain and signalled for the physio. He tried to bat on, but after facing one more ball, he decided to retire hurt and left the field. An X-ray later confirmed that he had suffered an undisplaced fracture.

What does Williamson’s injury mean for New Zealand?

Williamson’s injury is a huge setback for New Zealand, who are currently at the top of the World Cup points table with three wins out of three matches. Williamson is one of the best batsmen in the world, and has scored 6,433 runs in 161 ODIs at an average of 47.48 and a strike rate of 82.38. He also has 14 ODI centuries and 40 half-centuries to his name.

Williamson had just returned from a seven-month lay-off due to a knee injury, which he picked up during the Indian Premier League in March. He missed New Zealand’s home series against Bangladesh and Pakistan, and also the T20 World Cup in October. He made his comeback in the World Cup match against Bangladesh, and looked in fine touch as he anchored New Zealand’s chase with a fluent 78 off 95 balls.

Who will replace Williamson in the squad?

New Zealand have not named a replacement for Williamson in the squad yet, as they are hopeful that he will be able to play again in the tournament. However, they have called up Tom Blundell as a cover for Williamson, who will join the squad in India soon. Blundell is a 31-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman, who has played 10 ODIs and scored 303 runs at an average of 33.66 and a strike rate of 83.15. He also has one ODI century and one half-century to his credit.

Who will lead New Zealand in Williamson’s absence?

New Zealand will be led by vice-captain Tom Latham in Williamson’s absence. Latham is also a wicketkeeper-batsman, who has played 111 ODIs and scored 3,372 runs at an average of 35.07 and a strike rate of 86.64. He also has six ODI centuries and 18 half-centuries to his name. Latham has led New Zealand in nine ODIs before, winning six and losing three.

When can Williamson return to action?

New Zealand coach Gary Stead said that Williamson will need around three weeks to recover from his injury, and that they will give him every opportunity to return to the tournament.

“While it’s disappointing news, the initial diagnosis has given us some optimism he can still feature later in the pool play following a period of rest and rehabilitation,” Stead said.

“Kane is clearly a massive part of our side and a world-class player and captain – so we’ll look to give him every opportunity we can to return in the tournament,” he added.

New Zealand have six more matches left in the group stage, which ends on November 9. They will face Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Netherlands, South Africa, England and Australia in their remaining matches. They will hope that Williamson can recover in time for some of these crucial matches, especially against England and Australia, who are also among the favourites to win the title.

New Zealand have won the World Cup once before, in 1983, when they beat England by three wickets in the final at Lord’s. They have also reached the final twice more, in 2015 and 2019, but lost both times to Australia and England respectively. They will hope to go one step further this time, and lift the trophy for the second time.

However, they will need their captain Kane Williamson to be fit and available for that dream to come true.

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