BAN vs NZ, World Cup 2023: Kane Williamson set for return, Tim Southee remains unavailable

Image Source : GETTY Kane Williamson, Tim Southee and Jimmy Neesham during T20I game vs Pakistan in Dec 2020

In a major boost to New Zealand’s World Cup bid, captain Kane Williamson is set to return for the next game against Afghanistan on Friday, October 13. Williamson hasn’t played competitive cricket for the last six months due to an injury but declared himself fit to return and also provided an update on Tim Southee’s availability. 

Both Williamson and Southee missed New Zealand’s opening two games in the tournament but the Kiwis are off to a flying start with dominant wins. New Zealand currently occupy the top spot in the group stages points table and will be further strengthened with WIlliamson’s return to mount a title challenge. 

However, the Kiwis will be without their premier pacer Tim Southee for the third consecutive World Cup game. The red-ball team captain suffered a fractured thumb during the ODI series against England and is yet to recover fully.

“For me, it’s been quite a journey (since my injury). Excited to be back in the World Cup squad. I am looking forward to it. Tim’s progressing well, but he won’t be playing tomorrow’s game,” Williamson said during the pre-match press conference. 

Williamson’s return will provide a positive selection dilemma for the management and it will be interesting to see New Zealand’s playing eleven for the Bangladesh game. Rachin Ravindra smashed a century and a fifty while batting at the no.3 role but the youngster is likely to open or play down the order upon Williamson’s return. Either Will Young or Mark Chapman is likely to be dropped to make way for Williamson at Chennai’s MA Chidambaram Stadium on Friday. 

New Zealand World Cup squad: Kane Williamson (c), Trent Boult, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway (wk), Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Tom Latham (wk), Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips (wk), Rachin Ravindra, Mitch Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Will Young

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