Updated February 29th, 2024 at 13:59 IST

TRUE TEAM MAN! Neil Wagner comes out as substitute fielder even after announcing retirement for NZ

Neil Wagner demonstrates his dedicated team spirit by stepping in as a substitute fielder despite announcing retirement from New Zealand cricket.

Reported by: Aryan Suraj Chadha
Neil Wagner | Image:Amazon Prime/screengrab
Advertisement

On the first day of the first Test match between New Zealand and Australia at the Basin Reserve in Wellington, to thunderous applause from the stands, Neil Wagner, the talented left-arm bowler, was brought onto the pitch as a replacement fielder.

Also Read: Alyssa Healy takes down a pitch invader at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium

Advertisement

Neil Wagner had a poignant moment on the field as a substitute fielder against Australia

With his recent announcement of his retirement from international cricket, the 37-year-old found great meaning in this kind welcome, when he appeared on the field as a substitute fielder. His choice was prompted by the team's management's announcement that he would not be starting in the series, preferring to give younger players more playing time.

Advertisement

Wagner is still, however, a vital member of the team for the opening Test, actively engaging in net sessions to help the batsmen prepare for the difficult task presented by the Australian fast bowlers. In keeping with his unselfish attitude, Neil Wagner put the needs of the team above those of his own and onto the field in the 69th over to fill the job of backup fielder.

Watch the video that ‌Blackcaps on X uploaded below to see this touching moment.

Advertisement

Also Read: Dhruv Jurel shares heartfelt thoughts for coach Rahul Dravid

Advertisement

Neil Wagner was quite open about the strong bonds he has with his teammates and the emotional difficulty of saying goodbye to it all when he spoke with media after he decided to retire from international cricket. According to the official website of New Zealand Cricket, Wagner expressed feelings that mirrored the bittersweet nature of his departure. He said: 

“It’s been an emotional week. 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’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.”

Neil Wagner demonstrated his abilities in 64 Test matches for the New Zealand cricket team over a period of 12 years, taking an astounding 260 wickets. Over his brilliant career, Wagner's contribution to the Kiwis' bowling attack was essential. He had an impressive average of 27.57 and had achieved nine five-wicket hauls.

Advertisement

Published February 29th, 2024 at 13:59 IST