Twenty20 World Cup: Blackcaps coach Gary Stead plays down injury to captain Kane Williamson before tournament opener

  • 13/10/2021

Blackcaps coach Gary Stead has played down a hamstring injury Kane Williamson picked up in the Indian Premier League and expects his captain to be healthy for the upcoming Twenty20 World Cup.

Williamson was left out of the final game of Sunrisers Hyderabad's IPL campaign, which sparked concerns over his fitness. He's since joined the Blackcaps squad at their base in Dubai.

But coach Gary Stead has been quick to temper any fears about his captain's availability for their tournament opener against Pakistan in Sharjah on October 27.

"Kane's fine," Stead insists. "He's just had a very, very slight hamstring twinge, but he's getting through everything at the moment, he's feeling good.

"[Sunrisers] were out of the competition as well, so I'm not sure it's something he had to play in."

With the IPL playoffs in full swing, the Blackcaps are awaiting Mitchell Santner (Chennai Super Kings), Tim Southee and Lockie Ferguson (Kolkata Knight Riders) to join them.

The squad's focus since leaving managed isolation has been acclimatising to the brutal conditions in the subcontinent.

"We trained yesterday at a different ground ... it was really our first run after being in quarantine for six days, so it was good to get outside, have a bit of a runaround and get used to the heat," Stead says.

"Today has been a much bigger session. It's hot, I can assure you of that. A lot of fluids and stuff are being taken on board. It's something we are certainly conscious of that we don't blow people out too early in the tournament with the heat.”

"It's somewhere between 35 and 38 degrees, probably. You can feel you'd burn pretty quick."

This weekend, the Blackcaps will take on the Netherlands in the first of three warm-up games, with Australia and England to follow.

Stead says he'll use the fixtures to allow each member of the squad some valuable time in the middle.

"The guys who haven't played, we'll be looking to give them as much game time as we can.

"The other guys will come in and join us after the IPL stages, so we'll just see who has been playing and who hasn't in that time.

"Kyle [Jamieson] will join up with us in the next couple of days, he'll want a bit of match time, and I imagine Mitchell Santner will want some match time as well."

Join us on October 27 for live updates of the Blackcaps v Pakistan T20 World Cup opener