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New Zealand's World Test Championship winner Neil Wagner retires from international cricket

New Zealand quick Neil Wagner announced his retirement from international cricket on Tuesday, February 27 in a press conference alongside head coach Gary Stead ahead of the first Test against Australia in Wellington. Wagner, who played 64 Tests for New Zealand, will finish with 260 wickets.

Anshul Gupta Edited By: Anshul Gupta @oyegupta_ New Delhi Updated on: February 27, 2024 7:47 IST
Neil Wagner played 64 Tests for New Zealand and Australia
Image Source : GETTY Neil Wagner played 64 Tests for New Zealand and Australia series will be his final assignment

New Zealand pacer Neil Wagner has announced his retirement from international cricket in a tearful press conference at the Basin Reserve in Wellington on Tuesday, February 27. Wagner, who played 64 Tests for New Zealand including the winning World Test Championship (WTC) final against India in 2021, took 260 wickets in his career and is set to spend his final week with the team during the upcoming two-match Test series against Australia.

Wagner will not be part of the playing XI for the first Test between the trans-Tasman rivals starting February 29 in Wellington and will be released from the squad before the second match in Christchurch. As per ESPNCricinfo report, Wagner was informed that he wasn't in New Zealand's best XI for the series and hence decided to hang his boots as head coach Gary Stead, who was present with the 37-year-old at the presser, had the difficult conversation with the left-arm pacer.

“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. I’ve enjoyed every single moment of playing Test cricket for New Zealand and am proud of everything we’ve been able to achieve as a team," a content Wagner reflected on his career saying that he will be letting that Black Cap rest and hopefully leaving a legacy to be remembered for a long time. 

India Tv - Neil Wagner gets emotional during retirement announcement press conference alongside head coach Gary Stead in Wellington

Image Source : GETTYNeil Wagner gets emotional during retirement announcement press conference alongside head coach Gary Stead in Wellington

Stead hailed Wagner beyond his stats and numbers saying that what the pacer stood for during his entire career playing for the Blackcaps won't be forgotten. "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. 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 added.

'Workhorse' Wagner was known for his passionate celebrations and his never-say-die attitude that saw him draw a Test match for New Zealand with the bat and bowl with two swollen fingers in another. Wagner will surely be disappointed to not get a farewell Test but it almost sums up his career as he never demanded the limelight but commanded it by putting his body on the line and every inch of his soul into every ball he bowled. 

The 37-year-old, who played his final Test for New Zealand against South Africa in Hamilton, will be acknowledged at the Basin Reserve at the start of the first day of the opening Test against Australia and at the NZC awards on March 13. Wagner has ended his career as the fifth leading wicket-taker for New Zealand in men's Tests.

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