Kane Williamson has been ruled out of the 2023 edition of the Indian Premier League after the star right-hander injured his right knee while fielding during the season opener between Gujarat Titans and Chennai Super Kings on Friday. The extent of the injury is still unknown but those tracking developments from close quarters informed the 32-year-old will miss the entire season.
“It’s looking bad. Safe to say he is out of remainder of the tournament,” a source close to developments told News18 CricketNext.
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Williamson took the nasty blow in 13th over of the CSK innings when Ruturaj Gaikwad went big towards the square-leg region. The Kiwi jumped and stretched across to his right to keep the ball in play and prevent the six but lost his balance and fell on his right knee. The GT support staff rushed to his aid and Williamson, looking in serious pain, was carried off the field.
The right-hander didn’t return to bat and was replaced by Impact Player Sai Sudarshan at No.3. Defending champions Gujarat Titans chased down the 179-run target in 19.2 overs, thanks to a fluent hand by Shubman Gill (63) at top of the order and useful contributions from Vijay Shankar (27) and Wriddhiman Saha (25).
The No.3 spot
After getting him for Rs 2 crore at the mini-auction in December last year, GT head coach Ashish Nehra was surprised to get the Kiwi at the base price and said “Kane brings a lot to the table”.
“Somebody like Williamson will bring in so much experience. He is a proven player, didn’t have a couple of good IPL seasons but IPL is so fast-paced that it takes very little time for thinking and perception to change. For us, if he would have gone for much more, we would have still gone for Kane Williamson. We believe in that player and wanted to have that mix of experience and youth. Kane brings a lot to the table for any team. We are privileged that we could have him, and on top of that at base price,” Nehra had said at a media interaction in Kochi.
With Williamson ruled out, GT could well go back to Sudarshan, who batted at No.3 as Impact Player last evening, for the spot as the left-hander has had a brilliant run with Tamil Nadu in the domestic circuit and looked good during his 17-ball 22 in the 179-run chase at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
There is no official word from the Gujarat Titans camp on extent of Williamson’s injury or a replacement but even if they don’t announce a replacement, the Hardik Pandya-led unit has enough fire in the reserves to make up for the right-hander’s absence this season.
Gujarat Titans squad: Abhinav Manohar, Shubman Gill, Hardik Pandya(c), Rahul Tewatia, Matthew Wade(w), Rashid Khan, Shivam Mavi, Alzarri Joseph, Mohammed Shami, Yash Dayal, Srikar Bharat, Wriddhiman Saha, Sai Sudharsan, Urvil Patel, Vijay Shankar, Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore, Odean Smith, Jayant Yadav, Joshua Little, Darshan Nalkande, Noor Ahmad, Mohit Sharma and Pradeep Sangwan.
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