If not fit to play, Williamson could be New Zealand team mentor at ODI World Cup

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By Webdesk

Kane Williamson could still travel to India later this year for the ODI World Cup, with team management open to using the injured batsman as a mentor for the tournament. At the same time, New Zealand head coach Gary Stead has refused to exclude Williamson from the World Cup as a player.

After suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during the opening match of IPL 2023, Williamson returned from India on crutches and subsequently underwent surgery, which was deemed a success. Williamson’s knee is still in a brace as he rehabs.

“Look, it’s way too early to know,” said Stead ahead of Pakistan’s five-match ODI series. “He’s had surgery and, from what we know so far, it’s been successful. So he’s in the very, very early stages of his rehabilitation program.

“Obviously it’s non-carrying at this stage, and he’s in a brace. So it’s really just meeting milestones as we go. Our line around Kane is still unlikely at this point that he will be available, but we want certainly not ruling out a person of his class and caliber too early, and the things he brings to this team, in case that opportunity still exists.

“Yes absolutely [would take him to India as a mentor].”

The ODI World Cup is likely to begin on October 5 and conclude on November 19, with 12 Indian cities shortlisted as venues for the tournament, but the official route has yet to be released. Normally the ICC announces World Cup schedules at least a year in advance, but this time it has also been waiting for the BCCI to get the necessary approvals from the Indian government. The schedule wait has somewhat disrupted New Zealand’s long-term planning.

“It [schedule] isn’t out yet, so there’s not much we can do about that,” said Stead. “So it keeps our options pretty open without knowing the venues and who we’re playing in different venues.

“So it makes it quite difficult to finalize the plans now. But that in turn gives opportunities to players, who are now in the selection, to come out here. [in Pakistan] and play for New Zealand.”

Mark Chapman is in the frame of the World Cup

Chapman has played just five ODIs for New Zealand since making his debut for them in the format in 2018.

However, he is a fine spin player, which in many ways has to do with the fact that he played more in Asian and subcontinent conditions during his formative years with Hong Kong.

“The [T20I] series result itself was fantastic for the team, if you look at the number of players that are in the IPL,” Stead said. [World Cup] last. So it was fantastic to get a two-goal result against them and play like we did, especially in the last T20 match.

“The partnership between Mark Chapman and James Neesham was really important. Obviously it wasn’t the best start with the bat, but the composure the two showed in that situation was brilliant. It wasn’t just a blow to Mark Chapman why he added to the ODI team, but there is a lot of competition for places and it’s not so much about the competition, it’s about how we continue to build the World Cup. And Mark Chapman is a man we think of around that.”

Is there a way back for Martin Guptill?

Martin Guptill has relinquished his NZC contract and is now a free agent, but Mike Hesson, the former New Zealand coach who is currently with Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL, believes Guptill could be another candidate to take the place of Williamson into the ODI team. because of his experience. Guptill came into action in PSL 2023, where he was top scorer for Quetta Gladiators with 310 runs in nine innings at an average of 38.75 and a strike rate of just over 150.

“I think World Cups require experience and I think Martin Guptill is one of those guys who has always appeared at World Cups,” said Hesson. Sky Sports NZ recently during a conversation with Logan van Beek. “I think he would be very much in their thinking and ability [Devon] Conway to stay on top or hit number 3, depending on which other player gets up and says, “Look, I need to fit in.”

“I don’t think the World Cup is a time when you want too many new faces. You want to mix up the talented youngsters with some experience. Missing Kane… that reduces that experience a lot. So that’s where Martin Guptill comes back into the mix. He’s clearly been performing well lately in some T20 tournaments around the world and the PSL in particular.”

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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