"It’s a big blow for him, and it’s a big blow for us" - Gary Stead on Kane Williamson's injury
New Zealand head coach Gary Stead opened up about Kane Williamson's knee injury during the IPL 2023 opener against the Chennai Super Kings on Friday in Ahmedabad. Stead revealed that he is yet to obtain more information on the mishap but admitted that it is a massive blow for the Kiwis ahead of a World Cup year.
On his debut for the Gujarat Titans, the 32-year-old leapt on the square-leg boundary to catch a ball hit by Ruturaj Gaikwad. Although Williamson had plucked it, he threw it back on the field, knowing he was going over the fence and landed awkwardly on his right leg. He appeared to be in real pain and had to be carried off the field after receiving some treatment. The right-hander did not bat during Gujarat's run-chase.
Speaking ahead of the first T20I against Sri Lanka on Sunday, Stead said they will learn more about the state of his injury in the next few days and reckons it's not a good sign. As quoted by Stuff.co.nz, he said:
"Our first thoughts are obviously with him, we're not sure at this stage of the severity of the injury. He's being assessed in the next 24-48 hours, so we will know more after that. All we know at this stage is it's his right knee. Unfortunately I can't give you much more than that now until we find out more information. It’s not nice to see anyone, let alone your captain of your white ball team, being injured. It’s a big blow for him, and it’s a big blow for us."
Despite the Kiwi batter's absence, the Titans coasted to victory by five wickets with four balls to spare. Shubman Gill top-scored for the Gujarat team with 63, while Rahul Tewatia and Rashid Khan steered their side from a tricky spot to a comfortable win in pursuit of 179.
Kane Williamson likely to miss the ODI series in Pakistan
Despite full fitness, the right-handed batter was likely to skip the white-ball tour of Pakistan this month due to his IPL commitments. He played an integral role in their ODI series victory over Pakistan in January, as New Zealand returned after being 0-1 down in the three-game rubber.
The selectors have already announced the T20I squad for the five-match series in Pakistan, with Tom Latham set to lead them. The likes of Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson, Mitchell Santner, and Glenn Phillips will not tour Pakistan either to feature in the IPL.
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