Star New Zealand batter Kane Williamson is set to miss this year's ODI World Cup in India after scans revealed that he'd ruptured an anterior cruciate ligament on his right knee, which will need him to undergo a surgical procedure to repair.
Williamson injured his knee while fielding for the Gujarat Titans in the IPL 2023 opener against Chennai Super Kings. He was subsequently ruled out of the tournament and returned to New Zealand to undergo further scans on the knee and now faces a lengthy period of recovery and rehabilitation.
"I've received great support over the past few days and want to thank both the Gujarat Titans and New Zealand Cricket for that," Williamson said in a New Zealand Cricket statement. "Naturally it's disappointing to get such an injury, but my focus now is on having the surgery and starting rehab.
"It's going to take some time, but I'll be doing everything I can to get back on the field as soon as possible. I look forward to doing what I can to support Gary and the team over the next few months."
Recovery from ACL reconstructive surgeries have a time-frame of about six months, which is how far away the World Cup in India is right now. But Williamson is expected to have his surgery sometime in the next three weeks as it is the best practice to wait for the swelling in the knee to subside before the surgery.
Even if he does better the expected timelines, New Zealand's skipper is unlikely to have had any games under his belt going into the marquee tournament. Head coach Gary Stead however hasn't completely ruled out Williamson's participation in India.
"From our perspective, we certainly haven't given up hope on that, and Kane will meet a number of milestones in the next six months or so," he said.
"You take Kane the player, for a first start, but then Kane the leader and the person he is within our group as well, it's a huge spanner in the works for us. Our first thoughts, obviously, are with Kane at the moment, it's a tough time for him, it's not an injury that you expect is going to happen, it comes out of the blue and it obviously hits you pretty hard at the time."
New Zealand, who finished the 2019 World Cup as runners-up, will now have to re-think their plans going into the 2023 edition. In that last tournament in England, Williamson finished as the Player of the Tournament, aggregating 578 runs from nine innings at an excellent average of 82.57 with two hundreds and two fifties.