Neil Wagner's Retirement: Forced or Voluntary?

Neil Wagner’s Retirement: Forced or Voluntary?

Neil Wagner, the veteran New Zealand fast bowler, has announced his retirement from international cricket, a decision that has raised questions about whether it was forced upon him. Wagner’s former teammate, Ross Taylor, believes that the decision was not entirely voluntary.

Wagner’s retirement came after he was informed that he would not be part of the ongoing Test series against Australia. This news sparked speculation that Wagner’s retirement was a result of a forced decision by the New Zealand Cricket (NZC) selectors.

Taylor, speaking on ESPN’s Around The Wicket podcast, expressed his belief that Wagner’s retirement was “forced.” He pointed to Wagner’s press conference, where he stated that he was retiring after the Test match against Australia, indicating that he had made himself available for selection.

However, Wagner was released from the squad after the first Test in Wellington. An injury to William O’Rourke led to talk of a potential recall for Wagner for the second Test in Christchurch. However, NZC opted to select the uncapped fast bowler Ben Sears instead.

Taylor questioned this decision, stating that Wagner would have been a valuable asset in the must-win Test against Australia. He believes that Wagner’s experience and intimidation factor would have prevented Australia from posting such a large total in their first innings.

Aaron Finch, the former Australian captain, also expressed his surprise at Wagner’s omission from the XI. He believes that Wagner’s success against Australia, particularly against Steven Smith, would have made a significant difference in the match.

Finch pointed to the record 116-run partnership between Josh Hazlewood and Cameron Green, which laid the foundation for Australia’s victory. He believes that Wagner’s presence would have disrupted this partnership and prevented Australia from reaching such a high total.

Taylor echoed Finch’s sentiments, emphasizing Wagner’s experience and ability to intimidate opposition batters. He believes that Wagner’s absence allowed Hazlewood and Green to play with more freedom and contribute to Australia’s victory.

Wagner’s retirement marks the end of an era for New Zealand cricket. He was a key member of the team for over a decade, known for his aggressive bowling style and ability to extract reverse swing. His departure will leave a significant void in the New Zealand bowling attack.

O'Rourke Doubtful, Wagner Recall Possible for New Zealand in Second Test

O’Rourke Doubtful, Wagner Recall Possible for New Zealand in Second Test

New Zealand’s pace attack faces a setback as Will O’Rourke’s hamstring injury casts doubt on his availability for the second Test against Australia. Captain Tim Southee hinted at a potential recall for veteran Neil Wagner, who retired last week but remains in the squad.

Southee ruled out Trent Boult due to his recent focus on white-ball cricket. However, he left the door open for Wagner, saying, “We’ll see how Will scrubs up and we’ll go from there.”

Australia’s Pat Cummins expressed readiness for Wagner’s return, calling it “the world’s shortest retirement.” He praised the energy and short-ball prowess of the 37-year-old.

Cummins lauded Nathan Lyon and Cameron Green for their match-winning performances in the first Test. Lyon’s six-wicket haul on day four sealed Australia’s 172-run victory. Green’s career-high 174 on day one set up a decisive first-innings lead.

New Zealand’s Glenn Phillips impressed with his all-round contributions, scoring 71 in the first innings and taking 5-45 in the second. Southee and Kane Williamson will reach the milestone of 100 Tests in the second match at Hagley Oval.

The final morning of the first Test saw New Zealand collapse from 111-3 to 196 all out. Lyon’s spin proved too much for the hosts, while Green’s short-ball tactics also paid dividends.

Wagner Recall Possible for New Zealand in Christchurch Test

Wagner Recall Possible for New Zealand in Christchurch Test

New Zealand’s Test captain Tim Southee has hinted at the possibility of recalling veteran fast bowler Neil Wagner for the second Test against Australia in Christchurch. The move comes after Will O’Rourke suffered a hamstring injury during the first Test in Wellington.

O’Rourke left the field during the third day of the match with tightness in his left hamstring. He did not return to the field for the remainder of Australia’s second innings, but he did bat on day four and was able to run between the wickets.

Southee admitted that New Zealand may have made a mistake in their selection for the first Test, opting for four fast bowlers on a pitch that offered more spin than expected. Hagley Oval in Christchurch, the venue for the second Test, is traditionally more favorable for pace bowling.

If O’Rourke is ruled out, New Zealand do not have a fourth seamer in their squad. Wagner retired from international cricket after being told he would not be selected for the Australia series. However, with New Zealand trailing 1-0 in the series, Southee did not rule out the possibility of recalling Wagner.

“We haven’t had a lot of discussions as yet,” Southee said. “We’ll see how Will scrubs up. The physio hasn’t sort of put a timeframe on it or how bad it is. We’ll just wait and see how Will goes over the next couple of days. I’m sure there’ll be an update in the next 24 hours.”

Southee ruled out the possibility of recalling Trent Boult, who has been playing only T20 cricket in recent times. He also defended the performance of Scott Kuggeleijn, who took two wickets in the first innings but conceded 75 runs in 20 overs.

Southee identified Cameron Green’s 174 not out and his 116-run 10th-wicket stand with Josh Hazlewood on the second morning as the turning point in the match. He conceded that New Zealand’s strategy against Green was flawed.

“I think we probably could have tried to get Green out on that second morning,” he said. “I think the way he played that that night before, we thought he was probably going to come out and play some shots. But we probably could look to get him out and on that second morning and make things slightly easier than what we did.”

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