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.

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