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Neil Wagner Announces Retirement From His Career After Stellar 12-Year Career
By CricShots - Feb 27, 2024 10:44 am
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New Zealand’s cricket fraternity bid farewell to a legend as Neil Wagner, one of the nation’s stalwart fast bowlers, announced his retirement from international cricket. The decision comes ahead of the first Test at the Cello Basin Reserve, where Wagner will not feature in the starting XI, marking the end of a remarkable career spanning 64 Tests over 12 illustrious years.

Neil Wagner
Neil Wagner

Despite stepping away from international duty, Wagner will continue to contribute to domestic cricket for the Northern Districts, both at home and abroad. His departure leaves a significant void in New Zealand’s bowling arsenal, as he finishes fifth on the list of the country’s top Test wicket-takers, boasting an impressive tally of 260 wickets at an average of 27.

Reflecting on his decision, Wagner expressed the emotional nature of the retirement process. “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,” he said.

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The 37-year-old’s contribution extends beyond mere statistics, with a strike rate of 52, second only to the legendary Sir Richard Hadlee among New Zealanders with over 100 Test wickets. Wagner played a pivotal role in 32 of New Zealand’s 64 Test victories, claiming 143 wickets at an average of 22 in those triumphs.

 

Reflecting on his decision, Neil Wagner expressed mixed emotions, acknowledging the difficulty of stepping away from a sport he has dedicated so much to. However, he emphasized that the time was right for new talent to emerge and lead the team forward.

Expressing gratitude, Neil Wagner thanked his family for their unwavering support. “I’d like to thank my wife Lana for her support in helping me be the man I am today and for helping bring our two little girls Olivia and Zahli, and our boy Josh into the world,” he stated.

 

His Test debut in 2012 marked the beginning of an extraordinary journey, during which Wagner played a crucial role in New Zealand’s rise to the summit of the ICC Test rankings and their triumph in the inaugural ICC World Test Championship in 2021. He expressed gratitude to his wife, Lana, and children for their unwavering support throughout his career.

Head coach Gary Stead lauded Wagner’s invaluable contributions, highlighting his resilience and determination to deliver when the team needed it most. Test captain Tim Southee echoed similar sentiments, describing Wagner as a consummate team player who consistently gave his all for the greater cause.

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As Wagner prepares to bid farewell, he will be honoured during the first Test at the Cello Basin Reserve and further celebrated at the ANZ New Zealand Cricket Awards in Christchurch on March 13. His legacy as a relentless competitor and devoted team member will endure in the annals of New Zealand cricket history.