New Zealand coach Gary Stead is in no doubt that captain Kane Williamson will be fit in time for the ‘Black Caps’ opening match against Pakistan at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021.
Kane Williamson was left out of the Sunrisers Hyderabad XI for their final match of the Indian Premier League last week, and Stead has revealed the skipper had hurt his hamstring. However, he was quick to play down the chances of the injury hurting Kane Williamson’s involvement in the T20 World Cup.
“Kane’s fine,” Gary Stead told New Zealand Cricket. “He’s just had a very, very slight hamstring twinge, but he’s getting through everything at the moment, he’s feeling good.
“They [Sunrisers Hyderabad] were out of the competition as well, so I’m not sure if that was something he had to play in,” Gary Stead added.
Kane Williamson arrived at New Zealand’s camp in Dubai from the IPL. He was not the only recent arrival, with squad members James Neesham and Adam Milne joining the group from the Mumbai Indians alongside Shane Bond.
Former fast bowler Bond, with the squad as the ‘fourth coach’, is serving a somewhat surprise role, focusing on the team’s spin bowlers and assisting bowling coach Shane Jurgensen.
“So, Bondie came in, in the last couple of days as well, when Mumbai was knocked out,” Gary Stead said. “He’s working specifically with the spin bowlers in the tournament for us as well. So, he’s been great and it provides another set of hands for Shane [Jurgensen] when you look at a large number in the squad are bowlers. He’s working with the spinners, in particular, and just around their strategies.”
With two weeks to go before New Zealand play their first match of the tournament against Pakistan, Stead is using the lead-up to the match to get his squad accustomed to the heat of the United Arab Emirates.