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Other SportsNeil Wagner: 'Emotional' New Zealand bowler announces retirement from international cricket

Neil Wagner: ‘Emotional’ New Zealand bowler announces retirement from international cricket

New Zealand left-arm seamer Neil Wagner has tearfully announced his retirement from international cricket, calling his decision “not easy” after taking 264 wickets in 64 Tests.

A member of the Black Caps side who triumphed at the inaugural World Test Championship, Wagner made his decision after missing out on a starting place for the first Test against Australia, which starts on Thursday in Christchurch.

“It’s been an emotional week,” said the 37-year-old, who averaged 27.57 and made his debut in 2012.

“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’m looking forward to one final week in camp and will be doing everything I can to help prepare and support the boys.”

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South Africa-born Wagner moved to New Zealand in 2008 to pursue a Test career which included the dismissal of James Anderson to level the Kiwis’ series against England in Wellington in 2023.

“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,” he said.

Wagner New Zealand stats ‘phenomenal’

Only Sir Richard Hadlee, with 50.8, has a better strike rate than Wagner’s 52.7 among New Zealand players to have collected more than 100 Test wickets.

“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,” said New Zealand coach Gary Stead.

“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.”

Test captain Tim Southee, who earlier this month played down suggestions that Wagner’s frustrations had boiled over when he was made to wait to bowl during a Test victory over South Africa, reiterated his admiration for his team-mate’s expressive passion.

“You always knew what you were going to get with Neil,” said Southee. “And that was 100% commitment to the cause.”

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