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WELLINGTON: New Zealand’s hopes for the 50-over World Cup received a boost Tuesday, with Kane Williamson set to captain the Black Caps despite still recovering from a serious knee injury.

Williamson has scored more than 6,500 runs in one-day international cricket and led New Zealand in their nail-biting defeat by England in the 2019 World Cup final.

The star batter has been sidelined since April after surgery to repair torn ligaments in his right knee suffered while playing for Gujarat Titans in the Indian Premier League.

“Naturally, the preparation isn’t ideal, but I didn’t get too much of a say in it and the prospect of playing at another World Cup is really exciting,” Williamson told New Zealand media.

“It’s about ticking off those things I need to do for my knee and look forward to the competition.”

NZ skipper Williamson to miss final India T20 for medical appointment

The 15-man New Zealand squad will be named on September 11, but Williamson is already in after convincing head coach Gary Stead of his fitness.

“Kane has applied phenomenal dedication to his rehabilitation,” said Stead.

“He’s left no stone unturned in trying to get back playing cricket at the highest level. We are delighted to be in a place to select him.”

New Zealand play England in the World Cup opener in Ahmedabad on October 5, but Stead said there isn’t a specific timeline for Williamson’s return.

“We want to give Kane every bit of available time to aid his recovery,” he added.

“The World Cup is not a short tournament and we will continue to monitor his progress over the next month ahead of the first tournament match.”

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