New Zealand’s cricket fans received a disheartening blow when Kane Williamson, their star skipper, was ruled out of some upcoming World Cup matches. The skipper sustained a fractured thumb while running between the wickets during the match against Bangladesh at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
The game against Bangladesh marked Williamson’s return to international cricket after over six months of absence due to an ACL injury he suffered during the IPL in March. He showcased his class with a well-crafted 78 runs before the unfortunate injury forced him to retire hurt.
New Zealand will have to play without their captain against Afghanistan on October 18, India in Dharamsala on October 22, and South Africa in Pune on October 28. His return for the remaining league matches in November depends on how swiftly he recovers.
New Zealand Cricket confirmed the extent of Williamson’s injury, stating, “An X-ray has confirmed an undisplaced fracture to Kane Williamson’s left thumb after he was struck by a throw while running between the wickets in Friday’s match against Bangladesh in Chennai.”
Coach Gary Stead expressed optimism regarding Williamson’s potential return to 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 that he can still feature later in the pool play after rest and rehabilitation. Kane is 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.”
In light of Williamson’s injury, Tom Blundell will travel to India as cover but will not officially be part of the squad. Blundell’s versatility played a role in his selection as cover. His ability to cover multiple positions in the batting order and his wicket-keeping skills make him a valuable backup option.
In Williamson’s absence, the left-handed keeper-batter Tom Latham will likely take on the captaincy. Notably, under Latham’s leadership, New Zealand had won their first two matches against England and the Netherlands.