Teams Played For
Otago, New Zealand, New Zealand A, Northamptonshire, New Zealand Board Presidents XI, Lancashire, Essex, Northern Knights
Neil Wagner is a left arm New Zealand fast-bowler famous for his never-say-die spirit. The southpaw is an absolute work-horse hailed for bowling long spells at any time of the day. His ability to consistently hit the channels throughout the day and reverse-swing the old ball makes him a rare commodity in world cricket.
A South Africa-born Kiwi left-arm medium-fast bowler, Neil Wagner is another case of the controversial and unfortunate Kolpak ruling. The Pretoria-born started his cricket career during his high-school years and represented the Northern in the South African domestic circuit, where the pacer announced himself with two four-wicket hauls.
However, the closest Wagner came to playing Test for the Proteas was when fielded in two Test games at Centurion, but nothing more happened. In 2008, the pacer decided to migrate to New Zealand to achieve his dream of playing Test cricket.
Wagner shifted his base to Otago and flourished immediately. The pacer took 21 wickets in his first season and kept getting better in the years to come. In 2011, he made a world-record when he took four wickets with four balls and completed his five-for on the sixth ball of the over. Soon the pacer completed a four-year stand down period and then made his Test debut for the Blackcaps against West Indies in July 2012.
The left-arm quick never wanted to be a one-trick pony, hence, kept on adding more tricks like the art of reserve-swing and short-bowling to his arsenal as he progressed at the highest-level. Wagner took his maiden five-for against Bangladesh at Dhaka in 2013, but announced himself on the world stage against India at Auckland, where his 8 for 126 helped the Blackcaps seal a 40-run victory.
During the Christchurch Test, in 2016, against Australia, Wagner showed his spirit for the game when he played the game with a broken thumb and further took a six-wicket haul in extreme pain. Later in 2020, he again displayed his never-say-die spirit and bowled with two fractured toes during the first Test against Pakistan at Christchurch.
In 2018, against Australia, the pacer showcased his aggression when he took 17 wickets in three Tests, including two four-wicket hauls. The highlight of that series was his battle with Steve Smith where he didn’t give the Australian batsman any breathing space. The southpaw got the better of Smith on four occasions by laying the leg-side trap and then bombarding shorts balls at his ribs.
Over the years, Wagner has played over 50 Tests for New Zealand and been the Test-specialist for the Blackcaps. Now, the left-arm pacer is in the twilight of his career and would like to win the final of the World Test Championship before he hangs up his boots.
(As of March 2021)