Neil Wagner retires from international cricket

In a surprising turn of events, Neil Wagner, the seasoned left-arm fast bowler, has announced his retirement from international cricket, effective immediately. New Zealand Cricket made the announcement, confirming that he will not feature in the starting lineup for the upcoming Test against Australia at the Cello Basin Reserve. He will subsequently be released from the squad before the second Test in Christchurch. His departure marks the conclusion of a remarkable career spanning 12 years and encompassing 64 Tests.

Throughout his tenure, Wagner emerged as a stalwart for New Zealand, known for his tireless efforts on the field. With 260 Test wickets to his name, he secures the fifth position among New Zealand’s leading Test wicket-takers. Notably, his bowling average stands at 27, showcasing his consistent performance over the years. His strike rate of 52 remains second only to the legendary Sir Richard Hadlee, underlining his impact in the cricketing realm. Particularly noteworthy are his contributions in victories, having claimed 143 wickets at an impressive average of 22 in 32 triumphs.

“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. Neil gave absolutely everything to the BLACKCAPS and we are certainly going to miss his energy and ‘never give in’ attitude,” said Kiwi Head Coach Gary Stead as quoted by Hindustan Times.

Wagner will continue to cherish domestic circuit

Having originated from South Africa, Wagner ventured into New Zealand cricket by joining Otago in 2008. Subsequently, he shifted to Papamoa in 2018, representing Northern Districts. He remains committed to domestic cricket, continuing his association with Northern Districts, both in New Zealand and abroad. Expressing the difficulty of his decision, the 37-year-old emphasized the appropriateness of his retirement timing. He acknowledged the challenging nature of the choice but affirmed its necessity for his career progression.

“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 BLACKCAPS and am proud of everything we’ve been able to achieve as a team,” said Wagner.

“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,” the pacer added.