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Williamson eyes return for NZ in World Cup warm-up against Pakistan



Less than six months after knee surgery threatened to rule him out of next month’s ODI World Cup, the goal of captaining New Zealand in India has been the key driver in getting Kane Williamson through his recovery.

The 33-year-old tore the cruciate ligament in his right knee playing for Indian Premier League side Gujarat Titans in April, which looked to have scuppered his chances of making the showpiece tournament.

However, intense rehab work has meant a speedy recovery.


New Zealand is set to play their first warm-up match against Pakistan on Friday.

“It’s [about] working through those warm-up games to get as much out of it as I can – personally and as a team – without sort of bothering too much,” Williamson said on Wednesday before Kiwis departure for India.

 “There is a strong desire to basically be involved in those as much as I can; we’ve got two of them before our first competition game. And basically, it’s just wanting to progress [with] what I am doing now – the running, the fielding, and also time in the middle with the bat” he added.

Meanwhile, Tim Southee, has been cleared to join the team at the 50-over World Cup in India as he recovers from thumb surgery, the country’s cricket board said Wednesday.

The 34-year-old bowler hopes to be fit for New Zealand’s opening game of the tournament against reigning champions England on October 5 in Ahmedabad.


Southee, New Zealand’s Test captain, underwent surgery last week after he fractured and dislocated his right thumb in an ODI against England on September 15.

Pace bowler Kyle Jamieson will train with the squad in India as a back-up, after New Zealand on Tuesday wrapped up a one-day series win in Bangladesh.

Jamieson will not officially be part of the World Cup squad and won’t play in warm-up matches against Pakistan on Friday and South Africa next Monday.

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Haris Rauf’s BBL participation uncertain as PCB delays NOC: report




Pakistan pacer Haris Rauf’s participation in the Big Bash League 2023-24 is met with a potential hurdle as the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is expected to delay the issuance of the No-Objection Certificate (NOC) required for his engagement in the league.

According to ESPNCricinfo, Rauf’s NOC is likely to face a delay until at least December 11, just four days after the start of the BBL. There is no confirmation of an immediate issuance thereafter.

The explanation for the delay revolves around the ongoing National T20 Cup in Pakistan, scheduled until December 10, which the PCB expects Haris Rauf to fully engage in.


Last week, Wahab Riaz, Pakistan’s recently appointed chief selector, disclosed that Rauf had declined participation in Pakistan’s Test series in Australia scheduled for December-January.

Wahab openly expressed his displeasure at Rauf’s decision, with both sides differing on the events leading up to this point. Reportedly, the 30-year-old cited his inexperience in Test cricket as the reason for not agreeing to play in Australia. Rauf conveyed to Wahab that focusing on his white-ball game and fitness would be more beneficial.

Rauf’s potential absence from the BBL could raise concerns, especially for Melbourne Stars, who had enlisted him as a key player. Initially, it was expected that Rauf would only miss the BBL during Pakistan’s five-match T20 series in New Zealand in mid-January. However, further delays may disrupt the league’s plans.

Melbourne Stars had introduced special memberships named “House of Rauf” for the initial three games at the MCG this year, along with a dedicated seating zone called Haris Rauf Bay.

Ongoing delays in Rauf’s NOC issuance may raise concerns among Pakistan’s centrally contracted players in general. Two more players, Usama Mir (Melbourne Stars) and Zaman Khan (Sydney Thunder), are also selected for the league.


Contract discussions between the PCB and the players faced obstacles, partly due to disagreements over the number of foreign leagues players could participate in annually. They seem to have settled on a limit of two leagues, contingent on the PCB issuing an NOC for participation.

The BBL is set to start from December 7, 2023, to January 24 2024.