Chennai: New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said he is “excited at the prospect” of making his first appearance at 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup in Friday’s clash against Bangladesh at the MA Chidambaram Stadium following his recovery from the ACL injury in right knee.
There were question marks over Williamson’s participation in the event after rupturing the ACL in his right knee in March, while fielding in the opening match of IPL 2023 for Gujarat Titans, and had to undergo surgery on return to home.
Since then, his rehab and recovery progressed in such a manner that he was able to play New Zealand’s warm-up match as a specialist batter, using his timing and wrists to perfection to get a fifty. Though he missed New Zealand’s games against England and Netherlands, Williamson is all set to come back into international cricket against Bangladesh.
“As for my recovery it’s been quite a journey but largely a good one that’s had some really good progress and I’ve said a number of times, really excited to be named in the World Cup squad, be sitting here now and really excited at the prospect of tomorrow, which is another big challenge for us. A new venue, new opposition, as we know, which always happens in world events and we’re looking forward to the challenge,” said Williamson in the pre-match press conference.
Talking about his rehab journey, Williamson said, “The whole sort of journey really (began) with a series of really small steps and just trying to take small steps forward and it certainly started with strength and range in terms of the knee and then gradually trying to improve that and control a bit – some of the pain around it as the load increases and we could be here all day talking about it.”
“But I’ll fast forward a little bit – and great to be here and then and get involved in those warm-up games which were really, really enjoyable and then you know during those and post that were a lot of sort of return to play fitness parts which were perhaps a little bit more related to fielding, time on feet and looking to try and execute some of those skills.”
“I mean each week throughout the last period of time since I’ve been, I guess, rehabbing has been really important and really valuable. So, it was nice to get a little bit of that time in the last week or two and like I say, I look forward to tomorrow as a side.”
Williamson also had a long-standing elbow issue during the 2021 Men’s T20 World Cup in the UAE and on being asked about the difference in nature of recoveries in both injuries, the right-handed batter talked about how critical a role data played in his ongoing recovery process.
“Quite different injuries but, I suppose speaking to this one, there were lots of quite clear steps along the way that you were trying to tick off different milestones in terms of returning to the next phases and those sorts of things.”
“So quite different, a lot of data around it, mainly from other sports that was relied on and different strength numbers and heights and jumping and just heaps and heaps of different bits. So, quite different but, just great to be sitting here now and looking forward to the challenges tomorrow.”