Williamson walking a tightrope over persistent elbow issues, a major concern for the team

Kane Williamson, the captain of New Zealand, has struggled to keep himself fresh for the matches by refraining from over-hitting in the nets. Williamson’s elbow ailment flared up during warm-ups for the T20 World Cup, and the team management has been monitoring him closely since then. Williamson had been forced to sit out New Zealand’s first warm-up match against the Netherlands due to a nagging hamstring injury. He then returned to action against Australia, leading his team with 37 runs off 30 balls, although his elbow was worsened. Williamson has had an elbow problem for a long time, which has forced him to miss the ODI series against Bangladesh at home, the first leg of the IPL 2021 in India in April, the Edgbaston Test against England, and the inaugural Hundred. When New Zealand played three Super-12 games in five days across three sites in the United Arab Emirates, the elbow was again put to the test.

“The balance between the loading of the elbow and stuff like that has been a bit of a challenge for me personally,” Williamson said on the eve of the semi-finals against England in Abu Dhabi. “As a result, I’m attempting to remain as fresh as possible for the game. So, it’s been a delicate balance to get my brain around, and I’m looking forward to the day when it’s gone (laughs) and I don’t have to worry about it anymore. But, for the time being, it’s a topic of conversation, and [I’m] just trying to work closely with the physio to ensure I’m as fresh as possible for the game. It has had an effect on loading, which means that training has been significantly reduced.”

Williamson’s time at the nets has been limited, according to head coach Gary Stead, despite the fact that he prefers to hit a lot of balls at practice.

“Kane is doing well right now,” Stead said. “He probably hasn’t put in as much effort as he would have liked. But that’s simply to make sure that when he’s batting, hopefully in the middle for us and winning games of cricket, he’s not overworking his elbow, and that training for him isn’t making it worse. We’ve done a good job of it, and I believe Kane’s mental struggle is to figure it out as well.”

New Zealand will begin their India tour with a three-match T20I series three days after the T20 World Cup final in Dubai. The two-match Test series in Kanpur and Mumbai would then kick off New Zealand’s World Test Championship defence.