Neil Wagner retires from international cricket

Neil Wagner has decided to stop playing international cricket right away because the New Zealand selectors said he wouldn’t be in the team for the upcoming two-Test series against Australia. He’s 37 years old and made this tough choice after talking with coach Gary Stead. They confirmed he wouldn’t be playing in the series against Australia. Wagner announced his retirement at a press conference in Wellington on Tuesday, alongside Stead. He had been asked to join the squad for the first Test.


Wagner played 64 Tests for New Zealand after moving from South Africa. He took 260 wickets at an average of 27.57. His strike rate was 52.7, which is really good. Only Sir Richard Hadlee has a better strike rate among New Zealand bowlers who have taken more than 100 wickets.


Even though Wagner will keep playing first-class cricket, he felt it was the right time to stop playing Test cricket. He said, “I knew the time was coming near. They sometimes say when you think about retirement, you’re screwed in a way. I knew the time was going to come and it was going to come close. In the last week, reflecting and looking into the future, looking at the Test matches that are to come, I thought it was the right time to step down and let the other guys come in and do what we’ve been doing as a group for several years and grow that attack.”


He mentioned that the decision wasn’t easy and that it’s been an emotional journey. He believes it’s time to pass the baton to others and let them continue the legacy.


Wagner and Stead talked after New Zealand’s Test series win over South Africa, which turned out to be Wagner’s last Test. They discussed his future in the Test side. Wagner wasn’t initially going to be part of the build-up to the Australia series, but the team invited him to be part of the first Test even though he wouldn’t play.


Wagner appreciated the gesture and felt it was a nice way to bow out. He said, “I think it’s a very nice way for the team… they invited me to come down here and spend this time with them to celebrate it but also help them prepare for the series to get stuck in against Australia and it was a really nice, kind gesture.”


Stead mentioned that telling Wagner he wasn’t part of New Zealand’s plans anymore was tough. “Very, very tough conversations to have,” he said. Stead appreciated Wagner’s understanding and gratitude for his time with the Black Cap. He highlighted that Wagner is still available for domestic cricket but is retiring from international cricket.


Test captain Tim Southee described Wagner as a great team player. He praised Wagner’s commitment and said he earned respect and admiration in the dressing room. Southee expressed his enjoyment of their relationship on and off the field and looked forward to celebrating Wagner’s career after the first Test against Australia.


Wagner shared some of his favorite memories in Test cricket, including wins over India and England and the World Test Championship final against India. He also mentioned the emotional last Test against England last year.


He became emotional as he thanked his family, friends, coaches, and mentors who supported him throughout his career. He hopes people remember him as someone who gave his all for the cap. Wagner admitted he wasn’t the most talented player but loved the game and playing for the team. He said he worked extremely hard and found different ways to succeed.

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