Key New Zealand Players Nearing Return, Captain Stays Benched

NZ's Top Players Set for Comeback

Despite participating in training following New Zealand’s dominant win over England in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 opener, the team’s captain is expected to remain benched.

Fast Bowlers Southee and Ferguson Nearing Return

As the captain, Williamson, continues his journey to full recovery, the team is set to receive a boost with the imminent return of fast bowlers Tim Southee and Lockie Ferguson.

Williamson’s Return Expected in Third Match

Williamson will be absent from New Zealand’s second match of the tournament against the Netherlands on 9 October, aiming for a comeback four days later against Bangladesh.

The 33-year-old showed promising signs during New Zealand’s Cricket World Cup warm-up matches against Pakistan and South Africa, but was not risked in the field due to his ongoing recovery from a torn anterior cruciate ligament sustained earlier this year.

Coach Stead Optimistic About Williamson’s Progress

“Kane’s been progressing very well,” New Zealand head coach Gary Stead expressed on Sunday. He further added that fielding is the area where Williamson needs to gain more confidence and trust in his body.

Stead expressed confidence that Williamson will be ready to play the third match. The final team for the match against the Netherlands will be decided after another training session.

New Zealand’s Impressive Start to the Tournament

New Zealand delivered a crushing defeat to England by nine wickets, achieving a target of 283 with 82 balls to spare, thanks to unbeaten centuries by Devon Conway (152*) and Rachin Ravindra (123*).

Trent Boult and Matt Henry led the bowling attack, with New Zealand later resorting to spin to restrict their opponents, reminiscent of the epic final of the Cricket World Cup 2019.

Boosted by the Return of Southee and Ferguson

The high-performing New Zealand team is set to be further strengthened by the return of pacers Southee and Ferguson, as they aim to maintain their strong start to the group stage.

Coach Stead confirmed that Ferguson had a successful training session and, subject to a final check, is expected to be available for the next game. Southee also had a good training session and will undergo a final x-ray before a decision is made on his selection. However, the signs are positive for his inclusion in the upcoming matches.