New Zealand have suffered a big blow ahead of their third and final T20I against India as captain Kane Williamson will not be available for the contest in Napier because of a pre-arranged medical appointment. Williamson is expected to rejoin the unit before of the three-match ODI series, scheduled to begin on Friday.
Head coach Gary Stead informed that in the absence of Williamson, veteran pacer Tim Southee would lead Black Caps in the decider.
“Kane’s been trying to get this booked in for a while now, but unfortunately, it hasn’t been able to fit into our schedule. The health and well-being of our players and staff is paramount, and we look forward to seeing him in Auckland,” said Stead while also confirming that the medical appointment has nothing to do with Williamson’s elbow, which has troubled him in the past.
Stead also announced that Mark Chapman has been added as the replacement for Williamson. Chapman recently featured in the T20 World Cup 2022 and the tri-series before the multi-team event.
“He’s a quality player who offers good versatility in the order,” said Stead regarding Champman.
Notably, Williamson’s form in the shortest format has raised many eyebrows in recent times. The Black Caps did make it to the 2022 T20 World Cup semi-finals, but Williamson scored only 178 runs in the tournament at a strike rate of 116.33.
Last week, he was also released by his IPL franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad as he made only 216 runs at a strike rate of 93.51 in the 2022 season of the cash-rich league. Then in the previous T20I against the Men in Blue, Williamson top-scored for New Zealand in the chase with 61 off 52 balls, but it wasn’t enough to challenge the outcome of the match. Overall in T20Is, Williamson has scored 2464 runs in 87 games at an average of 33.29 and a strike rate of 123.01 with the help of 17 half-centuries.