IMAGE: Neil Wagner/Instagram
New Zealand bowler Neil Wagner has dubbed the World Test Championship (WTC) final against India as a World Cup title clash. Wagner, while speaking to ESPNcricinfo said he wants to put all his energy into playing Test cricket for now in order to play WTC final against India, adding "Having never played a white-ball game for my country it is like a World Cup clash for me". The 35-year-old pacer, who made his international debut against West Indies in 2012, said it is "extremely exciting" to be part of the New Zealand squad that will play the WTC final in the coming weeks.
Wagner said there is not much history surrounding the World Test Championship, saying "but it's the start of something pretty big". He said playing against India in the final and to be able to test skills against one of the best teams in the world is what it's all about. Wagner added that he is going to treat the final as a regular Test match and do what he has been doing for years. Wagner played an important role with the bat during the first Test match against Pakistan at home last December. He bowled in the match while battling a lot of pain after getting struck on the foot on the second day. Wagner took pain-killer injections to complete his spell in the match, which the Black Caps won by a whopping 101 runs.
Wagner is expected to play against England in the two-match Test series, starting June 2. Wagner will likely be part of the playing XI, alongside fellow pacers Tim Southee, Kyle Jamieson, and Matt Henry. The Kiwis arrived in London on May 29 after spending some time training in Southampton, where it will play the one-off Test against India. England and New Zealand are going to play their first Test match at the iconic Lord's cricket ground.
New Zealand squad for England tour: Kane Williamson, Henry Nicholls, Ross Taylor, Colin de Grandhomme, Rachin Ravindra, Will Young, Jacob Duffy, Daryl Mitchell, Mitchell Santner, Tom Blundell, Devon Conway, Tom Latham, BJ Watling, Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Ajaz Patel, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner.