Cricket: Blackcaps not putting time pressure on Kane Williamson's return from elbow injury

The Blackcaps are in no rush to bring captain Kane Williamson back into the fold for the upcoming home summer, as the skipper continues to battle a nigglesome elbow issue.

Williamson, 31, has spent most of 2021 fighting a recurring elbow injury.

In March, Williamson sat out of New Zealand's three match ODI series against Bangladesh due to the issue. In June, Williamson again was sidelined by the issue in Birmingham for New Zealand's second test against England.

And while the Kiwi skipper played on through pain for the World Test Championship win, and Twenty20 World Cup campaign, the injury's recurrence before the second test against India in Mumbai earlier this month will see Williamson sit out of the upcoming test series against Bangladesh.

Tom Latham will lead the Blackcaps in Williamson's place, with hopes resting on him recovering in time to face South Africa in two tests later this summer, beginning in Christchurch on February 17.

But as coach Stead says, while Williamson taking the field against the Proteas would be his preference, he won't take chances with his skipper's fitness.

"We are hoping that, but again we're not putting timeframes on that," Stead says.

"The thing to remember with Kane, is that he played in the T20 World Cup and he played the World Test Championship final, both at times when perhaps rest may have been the best thing for him.

"It's not like he's picking and choosing when he wants this to flare up. It's going to take a lot of good management of him, batting loading in the next two months anyway to get him back up, and a lot of strengthening.

"They do tell me these things go away, it's just lingering a little bit longer than what we'd hope for."

Stead also says that while Williamson won't need surgery on his elbow, management will be the most important aspect of ensuring a pain-free return to cricket.

"Strengthening, loading, and slow loading - not doing things too quick.

"Hopefully he reaches the stage where batting becomes the norm for long periods of time."