WELLINGTON: New Zealand captain Kane Williamson has ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee and is almost certain to miss the 50-overs World Cup in India later this year, the team said on Thursday. The elite top-order batsman suffered the injury while fielding for the Gujarat Titans in the Indian Premier League last Friday and returned to New Zealand. Scans on Tuesday confirmed the injury would require surgery, making it unlikely he will be fit and available for selection for the tournament in October and November. “Naturally it’s disappointing to get such an injury, but my focus now is on having the surgery and starting rehab,” Williamson, who will have surgery later this month, said in a news release. “It’s going to take some time, but I’ll be doing everything I can to get back on the field as soon as possible.” Williamson’s batting helped New Zealand to the final of both the 2015 World Cup in Australia and the 2019 edition, where they lost to hosts England in a dramatic Super Over. The 32-year-old, who has scored 6,554 ODI runs at an average of just under 48, stood down from the test captaincy last year but remained skipper in the shorter formats. The potential loss of their best batsman and captain is clearly a blow to the Black Caps but coach Gary Stead said they had not entirely ruled him out yet. “It’s a huge spanner in the works for us,” he said. “We haven’t given up hope that he might be right, but at this stage it looks unlikely. “Our first thoughts are with Kane, it’s a tough time for him. It’s not an injury that you’d expect, it’s come out of the blue, and it obviously hits you hard at the time.” Organisers have yet to announce firm dates for the World Cup but it is expected to get underway in early October with the major nations, including New Zealand, starting their campaigns towards the end of the month. “I look forward to doing what I can to support Gary and the team over the next few months,” Williamson added.