Neil Wagner, Kiwi fast bowler announces surprise retirement from international cricket

Neil Wagner. Photo Courtesy: Neil Wagner (neilwagner13) Instagram page

#NeilWagner, #NewZealand

IBNS-CMEDIA: New Zealand fast bowler Neil Wagner has announced his retirement from international cricket.

Wagner revealed the news on the eve of New Zealand’s two-match Test series at home against Australia, with the left-armer finishing his career with a total of 260 Test wickets from 64 Test match appearances.

The 37-year-old was named in New Zealand’s squad to take on Australia, but learnt he would not be selected in the XI for the first Test in Wellington and will be released from the squad for the second Test in Christchurch, an ICC report said.

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

“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,” he said.

“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,” Wagner said.

“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,” he said.

“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,” Wagner said.

“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,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to one final week in camp and will be doing everything I can to help prepare and support the boys,” Wagner said.

Wagner retires in fifth place overall on the list of leading wicket-takers from New Zealand, with Sir Richard Hadlee (431), Tim Southee (376), Daniel Vettori (361) and Trent Boult (317) the only bowlers in front of him.

He collected a total of nine five-wicket hauls during his Test career, with career-best figures of 7/39 coming against the West Indies in Wellington at the end of 2017.

Wagner also played a major role in helping New Zealand to the inaugural ICC World Test Championship title, with the pacer collecting three wickets in the side that defeated India by eight wickets in Southampton in 2021.

New Zealand coach Gary Stead praised Wagner for the unselfish approach he displayed throughout his career.

“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,” Stead noted.

“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,” Stead said.

“Neil gave absolutely everything to the Black Caps and we are certainly going to miss his energy and ‘never give in’ attitude,” he added.