Veteran New Zealand fast bowler Neil Wagner has been hailed as an “inspiration” by his teammates and Pakistan counterparts for his appetite and motivation shown while playing with two broke toes to inspire the host to a 101-run victory in the Boxing Day Test at Bay Oval.
Wagner gives it his best every single time he steps out on the field and what exactly he did in the first Test of the two-Test series against Pakistan despite fracturing his two toes of his right foot during New Zealand’s first innings while facing young speedster Shaheen Afridi yorker at Bay Oval.
However, surviving on painkilling injections and grit, Wagner bowled 21 overs with tremendous hostility and took two wickets for 50 runs in the first innings while returned with 2/55 in the second innings to help New Zealand beat Pakistan by 101 runs in the Boxing Day Test on Tuesday.
Praising Wagner's incredible efforts, Pakistan’s stand-in captain Mohammad Rizwan said: “I just told him he's mad. He's a different guy. His attitude is everything, his aggression is very beautiful.”
While Pakistan batsman Azhar Ali also said: “I said that to him — that's what it means to play for your nation. I think he's showing that and he's an inspiration, everyone knows he's got not one, but two, broken toes and he's fighting for his team. He was giving 100 percent and maybe more than that, so I have huge respect for him.”
Meanwhile, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson also hailed Wagner for his “very very special” efforts against Pakistan. He added: “It was very, very special from 'Wags', one the team appreciated. We needed him out there and he delivered.”
Williamson signed off by saying, “People talk about the size of his heart in terms of what he (normally) does on the cricket field but to have a couple of broken toes, and he's in a lot of pain and going off to get injections and numbing his foot, and we're trying to use him and we were trying to use him when the injection was taking effect - it was kind of unique for all of us.”
(With AFP Inputs)