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Shortest Retirement Ever? Tim Southee Hints Out Neil Wagner's Comeback

Neil Wagner announced his retirement on February 27 (AP)Neil Wagner announced his retirement on February 27 (AP)

New Zealand captain Tim Southee has hinted out the possibility of Neil Wagner nullifying his retirement call to feature in his country’s upcoming series-deciding second Test match against Australia.

Last week, just a couple of days prior to the first Test at Wellington, Wagner had announced his retirement from all forms of international cricket. In his absence, the Black Caps slumped to a huge 172-run larruping to concede an early lead to the visitors.

To make matters worse for New Zealand, young fast bowler Will O’Rourke walked off the field on Day 3 of the Wellington Test owing to tightness in his left hamstring. 

With Will’s hamstring pain making him a doubtful starter for next week’s series decider, captain Southee has pondered Wagner’s potential return for the speedster’s one last hurrah for New Zealand.

Neil Wagner considered as Will’s replacement by Southee

In the post-match press conference, New Zealand captain Tim Southee was asked if retired Neil Wagner will be making his comeback for Christchurch Test if young Will O’Rourke fails to attain full recovery in time.

Much to everybody’s surprise, Southee did not rule out the possibility of Wagner’s potential return, but added that the team management will wait out for Will’s injury assessment by team physio before making any call. 

“We'll see how Will scrubs up. The physio hasn't sort of put a timeframe on it or how bad it is. [Neil Wagner] had a great reception here over the last week where he got a couple of moments on the field and obviously he's been a fan favorite for a long time," the BlackCaps captain said.

New Zealand lost the Wellington Test by 172 runs inside four days to go 0-1 down in the two-match series. The defeat also ensured that the ‘Black Caps’ slipped to number two on the 2023-25 WTC points table.

Under Tim Southee, New Zealand will now face their Trans-Tasman rivals at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch between March 8 and March 12.