Blackcaps v South Africa: Kane Williamson vents frustration as elbow injury sidelines New Zealand captain

Blackcaps captain Kane Williamson has vented his frustrations over a 2021/22 home summer again hampered by injury, with a recurrence of his troublesome elbow ruling him out against South Africa this month.

For more than a year now, Williamson, 31, has battled a tendon issue in his left elbow that's forced him out of matchess across all formats of international cricket.

After missing the end of New Zealand's test series loss to India and draw with Bangladesh to start the home summer, the NZ skipper will also sit out the upcoming two tests against South Africa - the highlight of the Blackcaps calendar this summer.

Williamson needed a cortisone injection to play in the World Test Championship final against India last June, as his unbeaten half-century steered New Zealand to the inaugural title, and his frustration at taking more time away from the game is evident.

"The elbow, I think, is progressing," Williamson says. "It's been very slow, which has been frustrating, but I'm certainly putting in the time and effort, in terms of the rehab of a very gradual loading batting schedule. 

Kane Williamson sweeps in the World Test Championship final.
Kane Williamson sweeps in the World Test Championship final. Photo credit: Image - Getty Images

"Clearly, over the last year and a bit, I've tried to learn as much as I can about it and it's been a very frustrating time - one of the more frustrating periods of my career, where it's essentially not something that's broken, but something that's been more disruptive than anything to my body.

"I'm just trying to learn and understand it, and get back to playing as quickly as possible."

In the immediate future, Williamson will play no part in either of the two tests against South Africa in Christchurch, beginning February 17, potentially denying him the chance of creating more history, with the Blackcaps yet to defeat South Africa in a test series.

Hopefully, sitting out of the series will allow him to fully heal, before returning to the crease.

"In my mind, without a doubt, the South African series was something I was targeting, despite the medical team not being as optimistic.

"I sort of felt that things could progress quickly and everyone seems to have a different story with this sort of injury.

Kane Williamson against India.
Kane Williamson against India. Photo credit: Image - Photosport

"I was certainly hopeful, but it was not to be. It is a tough pill to swallow to be honest. 

"Missing any game, but certainly test cricket, for me, are the ones you never want to miss, particularly a big series like this.

"It has been tough to get my head around, but then I suppose I'm getting the support of the medical staff and New Zealand Cricket around looking at the bigger picture and things.

"But as a player it's not always that easy to do and you just want to be there in the next match you can.

"I suppose, if I look over the last period of time, that's also been part of the issue. That's the picture really."

Meanwhile, Williamson has also ruled out surgery to fix the issue, with no guarantee that would resolve the issue once and for all.

"From what I can gather, talking to the professionals, it doesn't promise [success]. It's sort of an absolute last resort.

"And even after it, there's a real requirement of rehab and specific loading. Because it doesn't promise, this is without a doubt the more preferred option at this point in time.

"Hopefully, it's the one that works and gets rid of it. It is tracking in the right direction, so some positive signs."

Should he heal in time, Williamson could still play in New Zealand's white-ball series against the Netherlands, consisting one Twenty20 and three one-day internationals from March 25-April 4.

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