Will New Zealand recall retired Neil Wagner for Christchurch Test?

PTI, Mar 3, 2024, 5:28 PM IST

Image credit: Instagram / @photosportnz

Wellington: New Zealand might be tempted to recall retired pacer Neil Wagner to the side for the second and final Test against Australia following an injury to fast bowler Will O’Rourke.

The hosts suffered a crushing 172-run defeat in the opening Test here on Sunday and skipper Tim Southee said the door was not shut on Wagner, who had bid a tearful adieu to international cricket last week after taking 260 wickets in 64 Test matches.

The South Africa-born pacer had announced the decision to retire days before the Test series against Australia after learning that he won’t feature in the opening game and will be released from the squad for the second Test in Christchurch, starting March 8.

”We haven’t had a lot of discussions as yet. We’ll see how Will scrubs up. The physio hasn’t sort of put a time-frame 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,” said Southee.

”We obviously have to go on and make a decision on who comes in and what role we sort of see that playing out in Christchurch.

”(Wagner’s) had a great reception here over the last week where he got a couple of moments on the field and obviously he’s been a fan favourite for a long time,” said the home skipper.

Southee though was sure that pacer Trent Boult, who last played in a Test in June 2022, won’t play the second game.

”I don’t think his loading is up to it on the back of T20,” Southee said.

Southee had requested to be left out of New Zealand’s central contract list in August, 2022.

World’s shortest retirement

Meanwhile, Australian skipper Pat Cummins backed Wagner to come out of retirement.

”World’s shortest retirement. I mean, why not? If he’s your next best bowler that you think is going to perform, then go for it. I’ve faced him before. It’d be good to see. He’s high energy. It’s been good fun chatting to him each morning out here, so see how he goes,” said Cummins.

Australia have retained the Trans-Tasman Trophy for the 12th successive time after ensuring that they won’t lose the series with their victory in the series-opener.

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