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Kane Williamson, New Zealand's ODI captain, is set to miss the World Cup in India later this year after being diagnosed with a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee after he was injured in his first IPL match of the season for Gujarat Titans.
Williamson returned to New Zealand in recent days where the severity of the injury was confirmed and he will now undergo surgery within the next three weeks once the swelling around the knee has reduced.
"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."
Williamson had landed awkwardly - with his right knee buckling under his weight - while attempting a catch at the deep square leg boundary in the 13th over of Super Kings' innings when he had leapt to intercept a ball headed for six from Ruturaj Gaikwad. He managed to save two runs, palming the ball into the field of play before it bounced onto the boundary boards, but by that point Williamson was on the ground clutching his right knee.
Williamson's absence from the World Cup would be a huge blow for New Zealand. He averages 47.83 across 161 ODIs with 13 centuries.
"You take Kane the player for a start, but then Kane the leader and the person he is within our group as well, it's a huge spanner in the works for us," New Zealand coach Gary Stead said. "We haven't given up hope that he might be right but at this stage it does look unlikely. Our first thoughts are with Kane at the moment, it's a tough time for him, it's not an injury you expect…it hits you pretty hard."
Tom Latham has captained New Zealand in the absence of Williamson this year, and will lead the ODI squad on the upcoming tour of Pakistan, and could be the frontrunner for the World Cup role.