Babar Azam’s message for Kane Williamson after setback

Pakistan’s all-format captain Babar Azam (left) with New Zealand counterpart Kane Williamson in this undated photo. — ICC

Pakistan’s all-format captain Babar Azam hoped his New Zealand counterpart Kane Williamson recovers soon from his injury, which he suffered during the Indian Premier League (IPL).

In a major setback to New Zealand, their skipper suffered a knee injury during the ongoing IPL due to which the star batter is likely to miss the one-day World Cup later this year.

“Bounce back stronger. Get well soon Kane Williamson,” Babar tweeted, sharing an image of him and the NZ skipper hugging.

According to the NZ cricket board, Williamson will require surgery on his injured right knee, after scans confirmed he’d ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament while fielding for the Gujarat Titans in the IPL.

“The standard rehabilitation timelines mean that Williamson is now unlikely to be fit and available for selection at this year’s ICC ODI Cricket World Cup in India,” it said.

In a statement, Williamson acknowledged the support he’d received since sustaining the injury and thanked both the Gujarat Titans and New Zealand Cricket for that.

“Naturally it’s disappointing to get such an injury, but my focus now is on having the surgery and starting rehab,” he said.

“It’s going to take some time, but I’ll be doing everything I can to get back on the field as soon as possible.” While the World Cup now looked unlikely, Williamson vowed to support the team in any way he could.

The NZ skipper is likely to have surgery on his knee within the next three weeks. Williamson jarred his knee attempting a catch in the opening game of the IPL last Friday, hobbling off the field with the help of two physios.

The New Zealander is one of cricket’s premier batsmen. He played a crucial role as they clawed their way into the final of the 2019 World Cup, where Williamson was judged player of the tournament.

New Zealand fell agonisingly short — losing to England on a boundary countback in a nail-biting Super Over after a draw in the final.

Williamson stood down as New Zealand’s Test captain in December but is still the skipper of the ODI and T20 squads.

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