Chennai: New Zealand captain Kane Williamson has suffered an undisplaced fracture in his left thumb, with the side expecting him to be fit in time for the back-end of the league stage happening next month in the 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup.
New Zealand Cricket (NZC) added that wicketkeeper-batter Tom Blundell has been called up to the squad in India as a cover, as Williamson tries to recover from the latest injury blow. On Friday, in his comeback match post an ACL injury in his right knee sustained in IPL 2023, Williamson made a valiant 78 off 81 balls.
But the right-handed batter had to retire hurt after being struck on the thumb while running between the wickets in the 38th over, as New Zealand beat Bangladesh by eight wickets in Chennai. Head coach Gary Stead said he was hopeful Williamson would still play a part in the tournament.
“Firstly, we’re all feeling for Kane to have this occur after all his hard work to return from his knee injury. 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. 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.”
Stead added Blundell’s versatility saw him selected to join the squad as cover, while Henry Nicholls wasn’t considered after suffering a mild side strain during Canterbury’s Plunket Shield warm-up match against Otago during the week.
“Tom’s been with the one-day side on tours to Pakistan and Bangladesh and performed well. He covers multiple positions in the batting order and his wicket-keeping skills are also an added bonus as a back-up.”
On top of the table with six points from three wins, New Zealand’s next game in the 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup is on Wednesday against Afghanistan at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.