|Intro||New Zealand cricketer|
|Is|| Athlete |
|From|| South Africa |
|Birth|| 13 March 1986 |
, Pretoria, South Africa
Neil Wagner (born 13 March 1986) is a South African-born New Zealand Test cricketer who plays for New Zealand and Northern Districts cricket teams. He played for Northerns until 2007/08 and Otago between 2008 and 2018.
Wagner was born at Pretoria and attended Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool as a high school student where he played for the 1st team. He is a left-handed batsman and left-arm medium-fast bowler who toured Zimbabwe and Bangladesh with South African Academy sides and was twelfth man in two Test matches for South Africa. In 2008, he moved to New Zealand to pursue a career playing Test cricket. In June 2009 he was awarded a place in the New Zealand Emerging Players team under Peter Fulton, and eventually made his test debut for New Zealand against the West Indies in 2012. He has since played in 48 Test matches for New Zealand.
On 6 April 2011 Wagner took four wickets in four balls against Wellington when he dismissed Stewart Rhodes, Joe Austin-Smellie, Jeetan Patel and Ili Tugaga. He then took the wicket of Mark Gillespie with the sixth ball of the same over: five wickets in one 6-ball over, the first (and, so far, only) time this has been achieved in first-class cricket. His bowling figures for the innings were 6/36, his personal best at that time.
After an uneven start to his test career against the West Indies and his birth country South Africa, Wagner established himself as a reliable 3rd seamer for New Zealand side during their 2013 home and away series against England, taking 19 wickets in 5 tests. Wagner produced consistent performances over the next 2 years (including a man of the match 8 wicket haul against India at Eden Park). Despite this, he struggled to maintain his place in the side and was not selected in either of New Zealand’s 2 tests against England in 2015.
Wagner returned to the side during Sri Lanka’s tour for New Zealand in late 2015. He produced a series of strong performances, as New Zealand comfortably won the series. Skipper Brendon McCullum described Wagner before the Test as his “Workhorse”.
The performances earned him another call-up for the second test against Australia. Wagner bowled well, taking 7 wickets including 6 wickets in the first innings. Since then, Wagner has become a regular starter in the New Zealand test side.
Wagner continued his fine form during New Zealand’s tour of Zimbabwe in 2016, where he won the player of the series award. He took 11 wickets in the two match series, including a five wicket haul in the first test. New Zealand then toured Wagner’s homeland of South Africa. In the second Test, while New Zealand were soundly beaten Wagner again led the attack, taking his fourth five wicket bag.
In April 2017, he was named in New Zealand’s One Day International (ODI) squad for the 2017 Ireland Tri-Nation Series.
On 1 December 2017, Wagner became the opening partner to Trent Boult as Tim Southee was injured, and claimed his best figures of 7/39, which is also a New Zealand record to claim 7/39 within a day, and within two sessions of play.
He was selected in the Test XI of the year 2017 by Cricinfo.
In May 2018, he was one of twenty players to be awarded a new contract for the 2018–19 season by New Zealand Cricket. In November 2018, in the second match against Pakistan, he took his 150th Test wicket. In December 2019, in the second Test against Australia, Wagner took his 200th Test wicket.
In test cricket he bowls long spells with the older ball, relying on short deliveries and dogged adherence to plans to pick up wickets, even in wickets that are ‘two-paced’ and in pitches where it offers no swing or seam movement for bowlers, where he would bowl shorter than other pace bowlers to bounce the batsmen out. In domestic cricket he plays as an opening swing bowler. He also adapts the same style internationally on batting-friendly wickets.