Williamson suffered a fracture in his left thumb.  Blundell was called in as cover

 – Gudstory

Williamson suffered a fracture in his left thumb. Blundell was called in as cover – Gudstory

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Kane Williamson has suffered a “non-displaceable fracture” in his left thumb, the New Zealand cricket team said on Saturday, a day after Williamson’s left hand was hit by a pitch while completing a run in the match against Bangladesh in Chennai.

An X-ray confirmed the injury, with NZC saying Williamson will remain with the team “with the aim of being available for pool play next month”. Wicketkeeper Tom Blundell will be flown to India as cover, although he will not officially be part of the squad yet.

“Firstly, we all feel this has happened to Kane after all the hard work he has put in to come back from his knee injury,” head coach Gary Stead said. “Although it is disappointing news, the initial diagnosis has given us some optimism that he can still later participate in pool playing after a period of rest and rehabilitation.

He added: “Kane is obviously a big part of our team, and is a world-class player and leader, so we will look to give him every opportunity we can to get back in the tournament.”

Williamson’s thumb and wrist were initially bandaged by a physiotherapist after being injured at the start of the 38th over of New Zealand’s chase against Bangladesh. But he then retired in pain in the 39th minute with New Zealand not far from their target, which they achieved with 43 balls remaining to seal an eight-wicket win, their third successive World Cup victory.

The match against Bangladesh marked Williamson’s return to international action after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament during the opening match of the Indian Premier League in late March this year. He had been away from cricket for nearly six months, only returning to action in two warm-up matches before the World Cup, where he scored 54* and 37 against Pakistan and South Africa, respectively.

Williamson has been included in New Zealand’s World Cup squad although he is still in the recovery phase. He had previously traveled and trained with the team in England in the run-up to the World Cup.

“[It needed] “A little bit of embellishment after that, but it’s all part of the process,” Williamson said after his half-century in preparation against Pakistan. “Yes it is [playing the World Cup] It was certainly not a reality five months ago [I’ve] “I’ve been very fortunate with some recovery and to be included in the team is really exciting for me… It was nice to do that today.”

Despite Williamson missing New Zealand’s first two World Cup matches – against England and the Netherlands – New Zealand went on to win both matches convincingly under Tom Latham. New Zealand next play Afghanistan – also in Chennai – on October 18, with Latham likely to take over as captain again.

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