New Zealand’s Neil Wagner retires from international cricket

On Tuesday, New Zealand paceman Neil Wagner announced he will not be selected for the forthcoming series against Australia, thereby ending his 64-test career and leaving as the country’s fifth-highest wicket-taker with 260 victims.

Wagner was included in the Australia squad for the two home tests against Pat Cummins, but head coach Gary Stead informed him he would not be playing in either game.

At a press conference held at Wellington’s Basin Reserve, the 37-year-old, who was born in South Africa, fought back tears as he announced his retirement from international cricket alongside Stead.

“It’s been an emotional week,” said Wagner, a fiery, left-arm swing bowler and fan favourite.

“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.

“To the New Zealand public and the fans, I can’t thank you enough, for your support, for making me feel welcome, for making me feel like a Kiwi.”

Though born and raised in Pretoria, and 12th man for South Africa in two tests, Wagner migrated to New Zealand in 2008 and proved instrumental in his adopted nation’s rise to the world number one ranking and the inaugural World Test Championship title in 2021.

Wagner completed a four-year hiatus from international cricket in order to qualify for New Zealand.

became the first player to bowl for Otago against Wellington and grab five wickets in six balls in first class cricket.

After making his test debut against the West Indies in 2012, he struggled to establish himself at the highest level and was sidelined for over a year in 2014–15.

Wagner not only contributed with the ball but also with notable contributions in key victories after regaining his spot.

In the 2018 home summer, he played a pivotal role in New Zealand’s first test series victory against England in almost two decades, with a 103-ball knock for seven runs, part of an epic rearguard with Ish Sodhi that preserved the second test in Christchurch.

Last year, he tormented England once more, claiming four wickets in the fourth innings to secure a one-run victory in a historic Wellington test that resulted in a 1-1 series draw.

He ends his career having taken more than 100 test wickets at a strike rate of 52 and a bowling average of 27.57 runs, which is only surpassed by Richard Hadlee (50) among New Zealanders.

Wagner stated that the moment was appropriate to stop playing tests, but he will still play first-class cricket.

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