Kane Williamson confident of first Test fitness despite ‘ongoing’ hip niggle

Kane Williamson is confident that his hip injury is “settling” and that he will be fit enough to captain New Zealand in the first Test against England on November 21.

Williamson, who has been rested for the ongoing five-match T20I series, has played only one game in the last two months, and has batted just four times since the World Cup final in July, making a total of 50 runs.

“It’s been an ongoing niggle, really,” he told Sky during New Zealand’s defeat in the fourth T20I at Napier. “That comes at goes. It is settling, which is nice.

“A lot of [the last few months] has been rehab to get the hip right. I had a four-dayer recently [he made 26 for Northern Districts in a Plunket Shield game in October] and there’s a gap between this series and the first Test, so it’s basically training going into it.”

Williamson admits it will be “tough” to readjust to the rhythm of batting given his lack of match practice, but is confident that he will be able to make runs regardless. He was training with the New Zealand squad in Napier ahead of the T20I, rather than playing in the ongoing round of Plunket Shield fixtures.

“A lot of it is mindset,” he said, “so trying to get that right, trying to prepare as well as well as you can to give yourself the best chance.

“I guess if you’re looking at preparation and perfect preparation, gametime can be nice – spending time in the middle – but it’ll be tough to come by seeing as there’s not a lot of cricket between now and then. So it’s just trying to get the mindset right to go on and execute your plans as well as you can.”

Williamson was also rested for New Zealand’s T20I series in Sri Lanka, and spent the start of October in the UK where his commitments included a test on his bowling action at Loughborough. He has now been cleared to bowl, though is unlikely to be required much against England.

The first game of that series will also be the inaugural Test match at Mount Maunganui, one of Williamson’s home grounds when he plays for Northern Districts in domestic cricket.

“[It’s a] really exciting time for cricket in the Bay of Plenty,” he said. “I know everyone there is looking forward to the occasion, and I know the guys are looking forward to some red-ball cricket as well.

“[We’re] looking forward to get involved in the Test matches, which’ll be a really exciting opportunity for us, taking on a strong English side.”

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