New Zealand’s bouncer bowling machine, Neil Wagner will miss the second Test match against Pakistan at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch starting January 3rd. This comes as a piece of saddening news for the Kiwis as they won the first Test of the series in the last half an hour of the match – climbing to the top of the ICC Test team rankings for the first time in their history.
Wagner fractured his toes while facing Shaheen Shah Afridi in the first innings of the first Test. The left-arm seamer is ruled out of action for up to six weeks.
However, this didn’t stop the pacer from taking the field and he bowled with undeterred passion in both innings. As the match progressed his pain increased and Wagner had to take injections throughout the second innings.
Wagner took probably the most important wicket in the second innings as he bounced out Fawad Alam, who was batting on 102 and was on his way to save the Test for Pakistan.
Not too many individuals can do what Neil Wagner did: Gary Stead
New Zealand coach Gary Stead is in awe of Wagner’s passion for bowling and winning. He feels that only a few could have endured the pain as Wagner did. Stead revealed that the pacer was given injections that had effects for not long; Kane Williamson smartly used Wagner only when the injections were taking effect.
As quoted by India Today, Gary Stead said, “Neil was absolutely outstanding. I don’t think there are too many individuals who could do what he did in that test match. Neil hasn’t traveled with us. The injections he was getting (to lessen the pain) were wearing off (quickly) and we can’t let him go through that again.”
Stead reckons that the fifth day of the first match was a proper Test day as the game swung in both side’s favour; early wickets for New Zealand, then a couple of solid batting partnerships for Pakistan; and then the floodgates opened once Fawad Alam was dismissed.
“That was tough, really hard test cricket and it was good to come out on the right side of it against a tough Pakistan team. I thought Mohammad Rizwan and Fawad Alam’s partnership was outstanding and they nearly took the game away from us. That’s what makes Test cricket what it is,” he added.