New Zealand – Kane Williamson moves his training up a notch, but is ‘not right at the level’ he needs to be yet

New Zealand - Kane Williamson moves his training up a notch, but is 'not right at the level' he needs to be yet
Kane Williamson is back in the nets, hitting balls and continuing his recovery following surgery for a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee, but, as Gary Stead put it, his batting and fitness are “not right at the level that he is to perform internationally” yet.

Speaking on the sidelines of a New Zealand men’s team training camp at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui, Williamson said in a video released by Cricket New Zealand, “Great to see some of the guys and some of the new faces too. Looking forward to the team camp. Nice to have it here at home as well in the Mount [Maunganui], and get into some training and to just reconnect a little bit.”

He isn’t ready for proper action yet – New Zealand are getting ready for fixtures against UAE and England at the moment – but is trying to get back to where he needs to be to start thinking about a return to the game.

“Nice to be on the bike, do fitness sessions on the bike, and progressing from the lower level, stuff that’s really, really controlled, to getting better with my movements and be able to incorporate some of the batting aspects, you know, when you move your feet a little bit more,” he said. “Yes, still a bit of work to do, so keep working hard, really.”

It’s progressed a little bit from there.

“It’s nice to see him with a bat in his hand and hitting the balls again, albeit it’s not right at the level that he is to perform internationally,” Stead, New Zealand’s head coach, said. “It’s set certainly on the road to recovery, and it’s hugely silver linings in injuries and how you look at them, and to keep saying, ‘hey, I am invested in this team and I really want to keep playing for this team’, is magic to hear.”

Williamson is still the No. 1 batter in the ICC Test rankings despite not playing a Test after March 2023 and any cricket since rupturing his ACL while playing for Gujarat Titans in the opening match of IPL 2023 on March 31. He had to be carried off the field then, and was subsequently ruled out of the IPL and possibly even the 2023 ODI World Cup at the time.

He returned to New Zealand and had surgery in April, and it was later reported that if he wasn’t fit to play the World Cup in October-November, he might still travel with the team as a mentor.

However, in June, news emerged that Williamson had not given up on being a part of the World Cup as a player, and there remained an outside chance he would recover in time for the tournament that starts with New Zealand playing England in Ahmedabad on October 5.

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