New Zealand Pacer Neil Wagner Announces Retirement From International Cricket

Written by Vipin Darwade

New Zealand fast bowler Neil Wagner on Tuesday called time on his illustrious 64-Test career for the Blackcaps, announcing his retirement from international cricket. The left-armer finishes his Test career fifth overall on the list of New Zealand Test wicket-takers. The 37-year-old pacer took the emotional choice after a difficult chat with coach Gary Stead last week when it was clear that he was not in New Zealand’s top XI for the forthcoming series against Australia. The pacer was named to New Zealand’s team to face Australia, but he was not picked for the first Test in Wellington and will be dropped from the squad for the second Test in Christchurch.

Wagner admitted that the choice to retire was difficult, but it was evident that the time had come to move on.

“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 Black Caps and am proud of everything we’ve been able to achieve as a team. 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,” Wagner said in an official statement.

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

Wagner retires as New Zealand’s fifth-highest wicket-taker, after only Sir Richard Hadlee (431), Tim Southee (376), Daniel Vettori (361) and Trent Boult (317).

The 37-year-old pace-bowler will not be in the starting XI for the first Test at the Cello Basin Reserve and will be released from the squad ahead of the second Test in Christchurch.

Wagner will finish his career fifth on the list of New Zealand’s top Test wicket-takers with 260 wickets, at an average of 27.

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Vipin Darwade