Australia v New Zealand; New Zealand fast bowler Neil Wagner retires

One of Steve Smith and Australia’s great tormentors, New Zealand fast bowler Neil Wager, has announced his retirement after missing selection for the opening Test in Wellington.

Wagner’s back-bending efforts to pepper Smith with short balls in the 2019/20 series in Australia helped quell the run-machine who was coming off a record-setting Ashes series.

The Kiwi bowler dismissed Smith four times in five innings, finishing with figures of 4-27 in their duel which even the Australian acknowledged entered his thoughts as he returned to New Zealand for this series, this time as an opening batter.

But Wagner, now 37, won’t be a factor after not being picked for the opening Test and opting to call time on his 64 Test career.

“It’s been an emotional week,” Wagner reflected.

“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 Blackcaps 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.

“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.

New Zealand coach Gary Stead said Wagner’s impact went beyond statistics.

“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 has been instrumental in many of our great Test victories and he will always be remembered for his lion-hearted nature.

“Neil gave absolutely everything to the BLACKCAPS and we are certainly going to miss his energy and ‘never give in’ attitude.”

Wagner will finish his career fifth on the list of New Zealand’s top Test wicket takers with 260 wickets, at an average of 27.

Leave a Comment