New Zealand coach Gary Stead on Wednesday allayed fears about skipper Kane Williamson’s fitness ahead of the ICC T20 World Cup, saying that the prolific run-getter will be fit in time for the Black Caps’ opening ‘Super 12’ match against Pakistan on October 26.
Williamson was left out of the Sunrisers Hyderabad XI for their final match of the IPL last week, and Stead has revealed the skipper had hurt his hamstring. However, the coach was quick to play down the chances of the injury hurting Williamson’s involvement in the T20 World Cup.
“Kane’s fine,” Stead told New Zealand Cricket. “He’s just had a very, very slight hamstring twinge, but he’s getting through everything at the moment, he’s feeling good.
“They (Sunrisers Hyderabad) were out of the competition as well, so I’m not sure if that was something he had to play in.”
Williamson arrived at New Zealand’s camp in Dubai from the IPL for the six-day hotel quarantine. He was not the only recent arrival, with squad members James Neesham and Adam Milne joining the group from the Mumbai Indians alongside Shane Bond.
Former fast bowler Bond, with the squad as the ‘fourth coach’, is serving a somewhat surprise role, focusing on the team’s spin bowlers and assisting bowling coach Shane Jurgensen.
“So, Bondie came in, in the last couple of days as well, when Mumbai were knocked out,” Stead said. “He’s working specifically with the spin bowlers in the tournament for us as well. So, he’s been great and it provides another set of hands for Shane [Jurgensen] when you look at a large number in squad are bowlers. He’s working with the spinners, in particular, and just around their strategies.”
With two weeks to go before New Zealand play their first match of the tournament against Pakistan, Stead is using the lead-up to the match to get his squad accustomed to the heat of the UAE.
“Today we’ve probably trained in the hottest part of the day. Two o’clock we start and it’s somewhere between 35 and 38 degrees probably. You can feel you burn pretty quick. We’ve just got to keep the fluids up.
“A little bit of shock therapy and getting get people back into the hot weather and working hard. Then also and then just making sure we manage guys in the next wee-while and be clear around our training and what we’re trying to achieve. We’re certainly not doing it to try and cook people.”