New Zealand captain Kane Williamson's further participation in the ongoing IPL has been put under doubt due to a right knee injury that he suffered during his team's winning effort against Chennai Super Kings in Ahmedabad. (More Cricket News)
The 32-year-old got injured following a nasty fall while fielding on the boundary during the CSK innings. He had limped off the field in the 13th over on Friday.
The extent of his injury is not yet known, but going by what was seen on Friday night, it did not seem a minor injury.
Williamson, who was making his Gujarat Titans debut, intercepted a ball headed for a possible six off CSK opener Ruturaj Gaikwad's bat.
He managed to palm the ball into the field of play before it bounced onto the boundary ropes. But he fell awkwardly on the ground and clutched his right knee in pain.
He was taken off after receiving on-field treatment and did not come back to ba with B Sai Sudharsan coming in as a substitute fielder first and later he took Williamson's place in the Titans' playing XI under the Impact Player rule.
An IPL source told PTI that there is little chance for Williamson to take further part in the IPL though the assessment of his injury is still going on.
"Williamson will probably require ACL reconstruction and could be out of competitive cricket for indefinite period of time," said the IPL source.
Titans captain Hardik Pandya had said at the post-match press conference that he did not know how serious was the injury.
"It is knee (injury) for sure, but I don't have any update about what exactly has happened. I don't know how serious the injury is and how much time it will take (to heal). Right now there is no time frame," Pandya said.
"I had just messaged him. He (Williamson) has gone for the scans, once he comes back after the scans and doctors check (on him), then only we will be able to know what exactly it is."
In Auckland, New Zealand head coach Gary Stead said Williamson's injury was a big blow to the national team.
"Our first thoughts are obviously with him, we're not sure at this stage of the severity of the injury. He's being assessed in the next 24-48 hours, so we will know more after that," said Stead, who had spoken to Williamson since the incident and found him in "OK" spirits.
"All we know at this stage is it's his right knee. Unfortunately, I can't give you much more than that now until we find out more information," Stead was quoted as saying by www.stuff.co.nz.
"It's not nice to see anyone, let alone your captain of your white ball team, being injured. It's a big blow for him, and it's a big blow for us."
In case Williamson is ruled out, the Titans will ask for a replacement. The probable candidates could be senior Australia batter Steve Smith, who is currently doing IPL commentary, and Sri Lankan captain Dasun Shanaka, who is a handy all-rounder.
Both Smith and Shanaka went unsold in the IPL auction earlier this year.
Williamson had played for Sunrisers Hyderabad since 2015, and captained them fully in 2018 and 2022, and partially in 2019 and 2021.