New Zealand head coach Gary Stead is confident that making a return to red-ball cricket will suit skipper Kane Williamson's game as well as temperament in the Test series against England starting next month. After missing the entire home season in New Zealand due to a troublesome elbow injury, Williamson made his comeback to playing competitive cricket by captaining Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2022. But he was unable to set the scoring charts alight, making just 216 runs at an average of 19.64 and strike rate of 93.50 in 13 matches before flying back home on Wednesday for the birth of his second child. He's a bit disappointed he hasn't got the runs he wanted through the IPL. You don't see the great players often miss out perhaps as much as he has.
But I think what we have to understand, coming back into red-ball cricket, I think that will suit where he's at with his game, his temperament as well," said Stead in a video posted by New Zealand Cricket (NZC). Stead further mentioned that Williamson will arrive in England around the time New Zealand will be playing their second warm-up match against County Select XI at Chelmsford. "They're having the baby in the next three or four days, and then he will be back three or four days after that. So, expecting him to come around the second warm-up game." Apart from Williamson, left-arm pacer Neil Wagner will also arrive in England by next week after he stayed behind in New Zealand following the birth of his second child. From the IPL, pacer Tim Southee will link up with the squad as Kolkata Knight Riders crashed out of the tournament while opener Devon Conway will link up with the Test squad after participating in Chennai Super Kings' last league match on Friday.
But left-arm pacer Trent Boult and all-rounder Daryl Mitchell may not be available in time for the first Test at Lord's on June 2 as Rajasthan Royals will be involved in the play-offs, with the IPL 2022 final scheduled for May 29. "The only question mark for us will be if people are in the IPL final, the closeness of that to the first Test, and whether they are ready or not. That'll be something that'll just play out in the next week or so," stated Stead. Stead signed off by saying that middle-order batter Henry Nicholls has started some light training after picking a calf strain before departing for England and won't play in the first warm-up match starting from Friday against Sussex. "Henry's had a couple of bats the last two days. He's still at the very, very low levels of getting back into hitting balls and still has a long way to go I think with his running and rehab still, but we're hoping that he's still a chance for the first Test."