New Zealand captain Kane Williamson faces another spell on the sidelines after scans revealed he fractured his thumb in the ICC World Cup 2023 win over Bangladesh, his first match in seven months following a serious knee injury.
Coach Gary Stead said, however, that Williamson will remain with the squad and could return to the field “at the back end of pool play next month”.
The 33-year-old injured his left thumb when struck by a throw while running between the wickets in Friday’s eight-wicket Bangladesh in Chennai, forcing him to retire hurt on 78.
Batsman Tom Blundell will travel to India as cover but won’t officially be part of the squad while Kane Williamson rehabilitates, New Zealand Cricket said.
The injury soured Williamson’s return to cricket after injuring his knee playing in the Indian Premier League in March.
He sat out the opening World Cup wins over England and the Netherlands before being deemed ready to play against Bangladesh.
“Firstly, we’re all feeling for Kane to have this occur after all his hard work to return from his knee injury,” Stead said.
“While it’s disappointing, the initial diagnosis has given us some optimism he can still feature later in the pool play following a period of rest and rehabilitation.
“Kane is clearly a massive part of our side and a world-class player and captain – so we’ll look to give him every opportunity we can to return in the tournament.”
If Kane Williamson is ruled out until November, he will miss ICC World Cup 2023 pool games against Afghanistan, India and Australia over the next two weeks.
New Zealand currently sit on top of the 10-nation table after three wins in three games.
The top four qualify for the semi-finals while the final takes place in Ahmedabad on November 19.