Recovering Williamson ruled out of New Zealand’s World Cup opener

NEW DELHI (Reuters): New Zealand captain Kane Williamson will miss the opening game of the 50-overs World Cup against England on Oct. 5 as he continues to recover from a knee injury, the 2019 finalists said on Friday.

Williamson underwent surgery after suffering a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in April, which jeopardised his participation in the showpiece event.

The 33-year-old would play both their warm-up matches in Hyderabad and Thiruvananthapuram but will skip the tournament opener in Ahmedabad, the team said in a statement.

“Right from the start we’ve taken a long-term view on Kane’s return to play,” coach Gary Stead said.

“His recovery is tracking well and it’s now a matter of making sure he can cope with the rigours and intensity of international cricket.

“We’ll continue to take a day by day approach to Kane’s rehabilitation and certainly won’t be putting any pressure on him to return before he is ready.”

Tom Latham is set to lead New Zealand in what would be a rematch of the 2019 final, which England won via a now-scrapped boundary countback rule.