The Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad hosted the Indian Premier League 2023 opening ceremony (IST) on Friday, 31st March. On the occasion, famous singer Arijit Singh entertained the fans at the biggest cricket stadium in the world. For the IPL 2023 season, Rashmika Madanna and Tamanna Bhatia gave glamorous performances at the event.
Besides, in the opening match, the reigning champions Gujarat Titans defeated the Chennai Super Kings by 5 wickets. As Gujarat skipper Hardik Pandya sent CSK to bat, Ruturaj Gaikwad scored 92 runs to help CSK amass 178/7.
Shubman Gill’s 36-ball 63 helped the Gujarat Titans chase down the target in 19.2 overs as a response. Gaikwad earlier hit nine sixes despite wickets falling regularly at the other end.
For the Gujarat Titans, pacers Mohammed Shami (2/29), Alzarri Joseph (2/33) and spinner Rashid Khan (2/26) each claimed two wickets.
However, the victory came at a cost. Williamson suffered a major knee injury during CSK’s 13th over of IPL 2023 1st game. Ruturaj Gaikward hit a pick-up shot towards Williamson at the deep midwicket fence. During the process, Kane fell awkwardly and held his knee in pain for a few minutes. Eventually, the 32-year-old was carried off the field and did not return.
How bad is Kane Williamson’s Knee Injury?
The New Zealand limited-overs captain has reportedly been ruled out of the entire IPL season owing to a knee injury. This will be a big blow to the Gujarat Titans. They bought Williamson in the mini-auction late last year to help them with their top order for the IPL this year.
He recently recovered from an elbow injury that had plagued him for two years and forced him to miss many games for New Zealand.
In the end, Williamson palmed the ball into play before the ball bounced off the boundary ropes. Then he fell awkwardly to the ground, holding his right knee in pain. After needing on-field treatment, he was carried off the pitch and did not return.
B Sai Sudharsan comes in as a substitute fielder. He later replaced Williamson in the Titan’s starting XI following the Impact Player rule. To replace Kane Williamson, the Titans will now look at other options.
GT will now need to find another player to bat first in place of Williamson. it creates a great chance for other international and domestic talents.
Possible Replacements for Kane Williamson
Before the IPL 2023, the New Zealand batter was in great form in Test cricket. He scored 132 against England in Wellington, 121* against Sri Lanka in Christchurch and 215 against Sri Lanka in Wellington.
The right-hander had a bad season last year regarding his IPL career. In 13 games while leading SRH, he scored only 216 runs at an average of 19.64 and a strike rate of 93.51.
Williamson has participated in 77 IPL games, scoring 2101 runs at an average of 36.22 and a strike rate of 126.03 runs per innings.
Below are the three players who can replace Kane Williamson in the Gujarat Titans squad:
1. Rassie Van Der Dussen
Famous South African cricketer Rassie van der Dussen has established himself in international competition. He is a top-order batsman who is famous for his superb technique and capacity to score runs under pressure
Van der Dussen has participated in several national T20 leagues throughout the world. In 41 T20I games, Dussen has amassed 1044 runs at an average of 36, totalling 1044 runs.
2. Steve Smith
Steve Smith, the Australian batting maestro, is still available for selection by any franchise despite his present IPL 2023 commentary duties. The Big Bash League 2022–2023 is a good season for Smith, despite not being known as a regular & explosive T20 player.
In addition to providing the club with leadership, Smith may very well fill the anchoring position for which Gujarat signed Kane Williamson. Kane Williamson’s replacement for Smith is a superb match on all fronts.
3. Dasun Shanaka
When given the chance, Dasun Shanaka has done well on Indian pitches. Although there have been quite a few discussions on him playing the IPL 2023. But, Shanaka has not yet been able to join an IPL franchise.
GT might not require a No. 3 option given Sai Sudharsan’s strong performance. Instead, they could have someone like Shanaka to bolster their lower middle order. In addition to being a finisher, he can also bowl a few overs.
This could also ease things for Hardik Pandya, who has multiple areas to focus on. Shanaka would also help Hardik in the leadership group.