Watch: Retired Neil Wagner surprises fans with his return to field for New Zealand vs Australia

Updated - 29 Feb 2024, 06:00 PM

Neil Wagner
PC:X/Twitter

New Zealand pacer Neil Wagner recently announced his retirement from international cricket but was seen on the field in the ongoing Test series between Australia and New Zealand.

During the 69th over in the first innings of the first Test being played at the Basin Reserve in Wellington, he came onto the field as a substitute fielder and received a thunderous ovation from the crowd. Neil Wagner has been one of the prolific left-arm pacers produced by New Zealand.

Neil Wagner announced his international retirement on February 26 after it was made clear that he would not be a part of the Playing XI in the Test series against Australia to give opportunities to young players. However, just three days later he took the field as a substitute fielder to prove his dedication to the sport. A teary-eyed Neil Wagner made an emotional announcement in a press conference ahead of the Test series against Australia that he will be retiring from international cricket.

The veteran pacer has represented New Zealand in 64 Test matches and has taken 260 wickets at an average of 27.57 which includes 9 five-wicket hauls. He made his Test debut against West Indies in 2012 and last played against South Africa in Seddon Park earlier this month. Neil Wagner has only played one format for his nation and was a part of the New Zealand squad that won the World Test Championship finals in 2021 against India. Wagner took three wickets in the WTC final.

“I’ve enjoyed every single moment of playing Test cricket for the BLACKCAPS 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. 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,” the left-arm pacer stated.

Watch- Neil Wagner received a warm welcome from the Wellington crowd

New Zealand won the toss in the first Test against Australia and elected to bowl first. After the first day’s play, Australia is 279/9 with Cameron Green getting his second century in Test cricket as he is unbeaten on 103 off 155 deliveries which includes 16 boundaries. Apart from Green, no other Australian batter was able to cross the 50-run mark as Matt Henry took a four-fer in the innings.

New Zealand is currently at the top of the WTC points table with a PCT of 75 whereas Australia are third on the table with a PCT of 55. Both sides will be hoping to win the series to establish their chances of playing the World Test Championship finals in 2025. India is currently second and in between the two Trans-Tasmanian rivals on the Points table. Australia are the current World Test Champions whereas New Zealand won the inaugural edition in 2021.

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Neil Wagner New Zealand national cricket team NZ vs AUS 2024 Test Series