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Injured Williamson could travel to India for World Cup as team mentor

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Rawalpindi, April 26 (PTI): New Zealand white-ball captain Kane Williamson is unlikely to play at the ODI World Cup later this year but the injured batter could still travel to India for the marquee-event as a team mentor.

Head coach Gary Stead said he would “absolutely” look to use the experienced batter and limited overs skipper in a mentor-type role.

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Williamson is in rehab after undergoing a successful surgery on the anterior cruciate ligament of his right knee.

The 32-year-old had suffered the injury while fielding in his debut game for the Gujarat Titans in the Indian Premier League last month.

Attempting to stop a six at the boundary, Williamson had jumped high and landed awkwardly, injuring his knee. Such was the severity of the injury that he had to be carried out of the field.

“It’s still far too early to know. 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,” Stead told reporters ahead of New Zealand’s five-match ODI series against Pakistan.

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“It’s obviously pretty non-weight-bearing at this stage, and he’s in a brace. It’s really just meeting milestones as we go.”

The injury has been all but ruled out the Black Caps skipper from the 50-over tournament, starting in October as the expected recovery time of an ACL rupture is nine months.

However, Stead is still optimistic.

“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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New Zealand ended runners up in the last two 50-over World Cup. Under Williamson’s captaincy, the Black Caps lost the last edition of the 50-over World Cup in 2019 on boundary count to hosts England.

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