Kane Williamson goes down with knee injury at IPL 2023 curtain-raiser
The extent of the injury, which he picked up while leaping on the boundary to intercept a six, is not yet known
Kane Williamson was forced off the field 13 overs into his Gujarat Titans debut, against Chennai Super Kings, after injuring his right knee. He had done the damage while fielding on the deep-square leg boundary, where he had leapt to intercept a ball headed for six off Ruturaj Gaikwad's bat. 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.
He had fallen awkwardly with his right foot thudding the ground, seemingly with his whole body weight on it. Despite receiving treatment for a few minutes, his face twisted in pain all the while, he could not come back on, with Titans bringing B Sai Sudharsan on as substitute fielder first and later swapping the two in the XI via the Impact Player rule.*
Had Williamson managed to parry the ball and complete the catch, it would have been a spectacular take, stopping an on-song Gaikwad on 71 off 36. Gaikwad would go on to make 92 off 50.
New Zealand coach Gary Stead said Williamson's injury "is a big blow" for the team and it's too early to talk about the intensity of the injury and if it would affect his participation in the upcoming ODI World Cup in India, later in October.
"Obviously Kane [Williamson] got injured last night in the IPL in the first game. First thoughts are obviously with him," Stead said. "We're not sure at this stage about the severity of the injury. He is being assessed in the next sort of 24-48 hours, so we will know more after that. All we know at this stage is his right knee. It's early in the tournament and unfortunately I can't give you much more than that until we find out more information… You don't wish it on anyone, let alone your captain of the white-ball team Kane Williamson. So, yeah, it's a big blow for him and it's a big blow for us."
This game, the IPL 2023 opener, was Williamson's first outing for Titans, his first new IPL team in eight seasons. He had played for Sunrisers Hyderabad since 2015, and captained them fully in 2018 and 2022, and partially in 2019 and 2021.
Williamson was returning to the Motera for this game for the first time since his Test debut, back in 2013, when he had become New Zealand's youngest player to hit a century on Test debut.
He had only recently fully recovered from a long-standing elbow injury, which had plagued him over the past two years. Subsequently he had an IPL to forget in 2022, scoring just 216 runs in 13 innings. Last December, he had given up the New Zealand captaincy, and was showing signs of hitting top form once again with centuries in back-to-back thrilling Test matches and then a double-hundred leading up to the IPL.
*The article was updated after Titans triggered the Impact Player sub.