PAK vs NZ: Injury-hit New Zealand gears up to face Pakistan in ODI World Cup 2023 warm-up match
Williamson will play for the first time since he recovered from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury he got in March 2023 during the IPL.
At the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium here on Friday, when the Black Caps play Pakistan in the first World Cup warm-up match, Kane Williamson, the captain of New Zealand, will be the centre of attention as he looks to gain as much playing time as possible.
For the first time since he recovered from his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury sustained during the Indian Premier League (IPL) in March 2023, Williamson will be playing again.
Despite returning from a six-month layoff, the 2019 World Cup player of the tournament, who was named captain of New Zealand, will go cautiously after being sidelined.
In the team's fourth One-Day International against England, Tim Southee dislocated his thumb, and Mitchell Santner and Michael Bracewell also sustained injuries, shocking New Zealand.
When the squad plays in the World Cup, Kyle Jamieson, a fast bowler, will be selected as a cover, making Southee a possible choice.
Along with spin bowling all-rounder Rachin Ravindra, who made an impression with a three-wicket haul against England, leg-spinner Ish Sodhi will want to make an impression.
With Will Young, Devon Conway, and Daryl Mitchell filling in as backup batsmen, Williamson—who will play in his fourth World Cup—remains the pivot in the batting unit.
Since New Zealand hasn't named a backup wicketkeeper for the competition, it will be a test of character as all-rounder Mark Chapman looks to establish his dominance and Tom Latham takes over wicket-keeping duties.
Along with his pace bowling teammates, Lockie Ferguson will be eager to deliver bouncers on what looks like a sporting track. Traditionally, the wicket has aided hitters; but, as the game progresses, the bowlers purchase swing early in the innings, and the spinners increasingly receive assistance.
After Naseem Shah was unable to recuperate from a shoulder injury, Pakistan, led by Babar Azam, decided to draught Hasan Ali at the eleventh hour. The fast bowler will be hoping to experience Indian conditions.
Pakistan included an additional leg-spinner in Usama Mir, while the pace attack is composed of Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, and Mohammad Wasim.
In addition to Babar, players like Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammed Rizwan, Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, and Mohammed Rizwan will be looking for a big hit. The men in green want to make a big impression in the World Cup following a disastrous Asia Cup campaign in which they placed last in the Super Four stage.
Due to two religious festivals concluding on the same day, there has been a lot of build-up to the tournament, including extensive security deployments in and around the city radius and the match being played behind closed doors.
But the stadium, recently renovated and furnished with cutting-edge amenities, is ready to host the games, and the community is anticipating yet another celebration—this time a World Cup.