New Zealand pacer Neil Wagner bids farewell to international cricket

Wagner ended his Test career as the fifth highest wicket-taker for New Zealand.

 Neil Wagner | GettyNew Zealand pacer Neil Wagner on Tuesday (February 27) drew curtains to his illustrious 64-Test career by announcing retirement from international cricket.

The left-arm quick ended his Test career as the fifth highest wicket-taker for Blackcaps. The 37-year-old took this decision after a difficult chat with coach Gary Stead last week when it was clear that he won’t feature in New Zealand's top XI for the upcoming series against Australia.

While Wagner was named in New Zealand’s squad to face Australia, he was not included in the playing XI for the series opener in Wellington and will be released from the squad for the second Test in Christchurch.

"It's been an emotional week. It's not easy to step away from something you've given so much to and got so much out of, but it's now time for others to step up and take this team forward. I've enjoyed every single moment of playing Test cricket for the Black Caps and am proud of everything we've been able to achieve as a team. The friendships and bonds built over my career are what I'll cherish the most and I want to thank everyone who's played a part in where I am today," Wagner said in an official statement.

"My teammates have always meant the world to me and all I've ever wanted to do was what was best for the team - I hope that's the legacy I will leave. I'd like to thank my wife Lana for her support in helping me be the man I am today and for helping bring our two little girls Olivia and Zahli, and our boy Josh into the world. I'm looking forward to one final week in camp and will be doing everything I can to help prepare and support the boys," he added.

Neil Wagner finished his Test career with 260 wickets from 64 matches at an average of 27.57, including nine five-wicket hauls.

Among the Kiwi bowlers, only Sir Richard Hadlee (431), Tim Southee (376), Daniel Vettori (361) and Trent Boult (317) have taken more wickets than him in the longest format.

Wagner’s strike rate of 52.7 is only bettered by the great Sir Richard Hadlee (50.8) of New Zealanders to have taken more than 100 Test wickets.

"Neil's numbers are phenomenal, but I don't think we can underestimate his contributions to the team when the chips were down and he found a way to create a wicket. His accuracy, execution and tenacity have been instrumental in many of our great Test victories and he will always be remembered for his lion-hearted nature," New Zealand coach Gary Stead said.

"Neil gave absolutely everything to the BLACKCAPS and we are certainly going to miss his energy and 'never give in' attitude," he added.


By Salman Anjum - 27 Feb, 2024

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