Kane Williamson out for entire IPL season after 'horrible' injury mishap

The former New Zealand Test captain suffered a serious knee injury in the opening match of the IPL.

Kane Williamson, pictured here after injuring his knee while playing for the Gujarat Titans in the IPL.
Kane Williamson injured his knee while playing for the Gujarat Titans in the IPL. Image: IPL

Kane Williamson has been ruled out for the remainder of the IPL after suffering what appeared to be a serious knee injury in the Gujarat Titans' opening match on Friday. The former New Zealand captain made his debut for the defending IPL champion Titans in their tournament-opening win over the Chennai Super Kings.

However it ended in disastrous fashion for Williamson, who had to be carried off the field after injuring his knee. The 32-year-old was fielding on the square-leg boundary when he attempted to prevent a six off the bat of Ruturaj Gaikwad.

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Williamson leapt into the air and knocked the ball back, preventing a couple of runs. However he went down in pain after landing awkwardly and immediately clutched at his knee.

Williamson had to be helped up by two teammates, who carried him back to the dressing room. The New Zealander played no further part in the match, with the Titans bringing on substitute Sai Sudharsan under the new 'Impact Player' rule.

Kane Williamson, pictured here being carried off the field during the opening match of the IPL season.
Kane Williamson is carried off the field during the opening match of the IPL season. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)

On Saturday, the Titans announced that Williamson would miss the rest of the tournament. "We regret to announce, Kane Williamson has been ruled out of the TATA IPL 2023, after sustaining an injury in the season opener against Chennai Super Kings," the statement read. "We wish our Titan a speedy recovery and hope for his early return."

The former Test captain had only recently got back to full fitness after a nagging elbow injury which has caused him problems for two years. His recent form in the Test arena, in which he has scored with two centuries and a double hundred, had appeared to suggest he was getting back to his very best after a miserable IPL campaign in 2022.

Gujarat didn't announce who would replace Williamson in their squad. Fans flocked to social media to express their sadness for the veteran batter.

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Earlier on Saturday, New Zealand head coach Gary Stead said it was "too early to know" whether Williamson had done significant damage to his knee. There are fears the veteran batter could now miss the 50-over World Cup to be held in India in October.

In the end the Titans didn't need him or their lone Australian player Matthew Wade, who wasn't picked in the playing XI or substitutes. Chasing 179 for victory, Shubman Gill smashed 63 from 36 balls as Gujarat won by five wickets at the world's biggest cricket arena - the Narendra Modi Stadium.

Afghanistan hero Rashid Khan proved the player of the match, taking 2-26 with the ball. He got rid of both English stars Moeen Ali and Ben Stokes, and then his coolness with the bat helped see the Titans across the line.

Rashid hit a six and four in consecutive balls in the penultimate over, which turned what could have been a nervy final six balls into a relatively straightforward job. Sixth-wicket partner Rahul Tewatia hit another six and four off the first two deliveries of the final over to knock off the eight required for victory.

"We were very happy because at one point they were looking to go past 200, but we got wickets at the right time," Titans captain Hardik Pandya said. "Obviously when we lost Kane, we had to make sure we cover those runs and as many less runs as we can give."

The new 'impact player' rule sees a player chosen from a list of five substitutes provided by each team. That player can only be an Indian unless the team has fewer than four overseas players in their XI.

Other innovations in the IPL this year include captains being allowed to announce their XI after the toss, and teams being able to review umpires' decisions on no-balls and wides using the Decision Review System. "Having this Impact rule makes my job difficult," said Pandya. "I have too many options, and because of this someone will bowl less."

with agencies

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