New Zealand coach Gary Stead has said that Kane Williamson is “on track” for the upcoming three Test matches in England and “dying to play cricket for New Zealand again.”
Williamson, who’s currently skippering Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2022, missed the entire home summer for New Zealand with an elbow injury. He was unavailable for all the four Tests against Bangladesh and New Zealand at home.
“Everything’s going to plan in terms of how he’s feeling and how he’s preparing,” Stead said of Williamson. “He’s on track with where we want him to be, with our view of getting him ready for the Test match series in England.”
Stead underlined that he expects Williamson to return as the captain of the side, which has been led by Tom Latham over the course of the home season.
“At the moment, Kane’s just out of that role because he hasn’t been available for us. So when Kane comes back, I expect him to be captain for us again.”
Williamson’s troubles with the elbow picked up when he was in India in November-December last year and had to sit out of the second Test in Mumbai. Though New Zealand missed Williamson in the following months, when they lost a Test each to Bangladesh and South Africa on home soil, Stead called Williamson’s break the “right thing” by the 31-year-old and by the team.
“He’s one of our great batsmen, so he’ll always be missed,” Stead said. “But we still maintain that it was the right thing by Kane and it’ll be the right thing by us in the long term. The catch-22 is, Kane comes back early, scores a hundred, and his elbow’s gone again, and then we’d be in the same place.
“I’d like him to play everything. Any team with Kane Williamson in it looks slightly stronger than one without him.
“Like any of us, Kane needs breaks at certain times. He’s dying to play cricket for New Zealand again, I can absolutely assure you of that – but we can’t burn him out in the future, we have to be smart around those things.”