WTC winning captain Williamson will not return to NZ until December

Southampton: Even as the New Zealand team reached Auckland to a rousing reception from the airport staff, public and media, the man who led them to the World Test Championship (WTC) title was not with the team. Kane Williamson, the New Zealand captain, has stayed back in England and won’t return home till December after spending over eight months overseas thanks to a hectic schedule in bio-bubble life.

The 30-year-old batsman, who made 49 and 52 not out in the low-scoring WTC final, has been on tour since he arrived in India in early April for the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021. Unlike players from other nations like Australia, Williamson, despite carrying an elbow injury and taking injections to overcome it, hasn’t complained yet.

Following the suspension of IPL 2021 on May 4, Williamson, pace bowler Kyle Jamieson and spinner Mitchell Santner were left stranded before flying to Maldives and serving quarantine there. From Maldives they flew to England to join the other teammates arriving from New Zealand for the tour of England.

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Now having led them to the WTC title win, Williamson is staying back along with Jamieson, opener Devon Conway, and all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme for the T20 Blast.

Williamson will follow the T20 Blast with a stint at the inaugural edition of The Hundred, beginning July 21, for Birmingham Phoenix.

New Zealand team coach Gary Stead has told New Zealand media that Williamson may have to miss some of the matches of The Hundred due to the troublesome elbow, which experienced pain during the WTC final and had forced him to sit out of the second Test against England in Edgbaston just before that.

“He’s had an injection in his elbow to relieve the irritation he’s been experiencing when he bats and a period of rest and rehabilitation will help maximise his recovery [for the WTC final],” Stead had said ahead of the second Test over two weeks back.

The New Zealand skipper has been joined by wife Sarah and six-month old daughter, Maggie, in England.

After The Hundred concludes on August 21, Williamson will likely fly to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to lead SunRisers Hyderabad in the remainder of IPL 2021. Immediately after that, there is the T20 World Cup in UAE during October-November and he will be joined by his teammates there.

After the T20 World Cup assignment, he leads the national team for a two-Test series in India before finally returning home.

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