Kane Williamson to Mentor New Zealand at ODI World Cup?

Kane Williamson, who led New Zealand to the 2019 World Cup final, is almost certain to miss the 2023 event with a ruptured anterior-cruciate ligament in his right knee. But he would yet have a significant role to play in the tournament that takes place in India in October-November. The New Zealand team management is considering the possibility of having him on board as a mentor, though Gary Stead, the head coach, hasn’t completely ruled out the possibility of Williamson being in the squad.

“Look, it’s still far too early to know,” said Stead ahead of New Zealand’s five-match ODI series in Pakistan. “He’s had the operation and, to date, what we know, that’s been successful. So he is in the very, very early stages of his rehab programme.

“It’s obviously pretty non-weight-bearing at this stage, and he’s in a brace. So, it’s really just meeting milestones as we go. Our line around Kane, at the moment, is still it’s unlikely that he will be available, but we certainly don’t want to rule out a person of his class and calibre, and the things he brings to this team, too early in case there is that chance still.”

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The World Cup schedule has yet to be announced because of delays in obtaining clearances from the Indian government. But Stead indicated that a mentor role was very much being considered in case Williamson couldn’t play. “Yeah, absolutely (would take him to India as a mentor),” he said. “It [schedule] is not out yet, so there’s not much we can do about that. So it does keep our options reasonably open without knowing the venues and who we are playing at different venues.”

New Zealand have an outstanding record in the World Cup, having been losing finalists in 2015 and 2019, and semi-finalists in the two previous editions.

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