New Zealand are hoping to have a fully-fit Williamson in the mix for the Test tour of England after he finishes up with the IPL
Williamson, who has an elbow problem, is set to return for Sunrisers Hyderabad at the IPL, scheduled to begin on March 26.
“Kane’s heading off to India. All the IPL guys [12 New Zealand players are part of the league] are away this week and heading off there. That’s just part of the current cycle of what it looks like in world cricket,” Stead said after New Zealand announced their squads for the series against the Netherlands, which runs from March 25 to April 4. “He’s going really well. He’s been everywhere we want him to be and that’s great.
“For us, Kane playing T20 cricket is the right way forward for the short term. It means we can manage his loads a little bit more. And we have a little bit more of a clear idea around how many balls he will be hitting to make sure he is loading the elbow progressively, with a view to him being right for the Tests in the UK which we will be really hopeful for.”
The recurrence of the old elbow problem – which had troubled him for much of 2021 – during the New Zealand tour of India meant Williamson has not played any cricket since last December. Stead said that the plan was to have a fit Williamson for the three Tests in England – part of the World Test Championship – starting June 2.
“Every time a new player gets selected for New Zealand and plays for the Black Caps, it’s exciting for them and exciting for our team. I think the natural opportunity that’s come around with 12 guys being essentially ruled out by playing in the IPL is exciting for us”
“It’s a great opportunity,” Stead said. “Every time a new player gets selected for New Zealand and plays for the Black Caps, it’s exciting for them and exciting for our team. I think the natural opportunity that’s come around with 12 guys being essentially ruled out by playing in the IPL is exciting for us.
“We try and show loyalty to those that have been in our squad and I think that’s been part of the reason we’ve had some of the success we’ve had. We don’t make it easy to get into the teams, but Michael’s been knocking on the door for a while now. He’s a true allrounder. He’s got some great skills in all three forms of the game, so I’m looking forward to seeing what he can bring.”
The home series against the Netherlands begins with the one-off T20I on March 25, followed by the three-match ODI series – which will be a part of the World Cup Super League – from March 29.
Srinidhi Ramanujam is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo