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Gary Stead, New Zealand's coach, expects to get captain Kane Williamson back for their three-test tour to England in June, but believes they'll have to control his workload to avoid an elbow injury recurrence.
Williamson, 31, was forced to miss the home series against Bangladesh and South Africa due to a tendon ailment in his left elbow that has plagued him for the past 18 months.
While Kane has returned to action in the Indian Premier League, Stead believes Kane's return to the 'Black Caps' should not be rushed.
"The catch-22 is, Kane comes back early, scores a hundred, and his elbow is gone again, and then we'd be in the same place," Stead told reporters on Tuesday.
"Kane, like any of us, needs breaks at certain times. He's dying to play cricket for New Zealand again, I can absolutely assure you of that, but we can't burn him out in the future. We have to be smart around those things," he added.
Williamson, who reached out to India great Sachin Tendulkar and Australia's Steve Smith for advice on recovering from elbow injuries, told reporters in February he was so tired of dealing with the elbow there were times he wanted to "cut it off".
Tom Latham led the side against Bangladesh and South Africa, as well as in the limited-overs home series against the Netherlands, in Williamson's absence.
"At the moment, Kane is just out of that role because he hasn't been available for us. So when Kane comes back, I expect him to be captain for us again." Stead said.