Cricket

Neil Wagner's Retirement Was Forced: Ross Taylor

New Zealand pacer Neil Wagner announced his retirement ahead of the first Australia Test in what came as a controversial decision. However, former Kiwi great Ross Taylor suggested that the fast bowler's retirement was forced, citing unrest in the Blackcap's camp. Wagner played 64 Tests, picking 260 wickets

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Neil Wagner took 260 wickets in 64 Tests for New Zealand. Photo: Screengrab (X | BLACKCAPS)
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New Zealand's former star batter Ross Taylor has suggested that fast bowler Neil Wagner's retirement was "forced", hinting at the possibility of unrest in the Kiwi camp. (More Cricket News)

Told that he would not be picked in the XI in the series against Australia, Wagner recently announced his retirement during an emotional press conference before the start of the first Test.

The 37-year-old Wagner, however, did take the field during the first Test as a substitute fielder and carried the drinks on occasions.

"I think it all makes sense a little bit now. There's no sugarcoating it. I think it's a forced retirement. If you listen to Wagner's press conference, he was retiring, but it was after this last Test match. So he did make himself available," Taylor said while speaking on ESPN's Around the Wicket podcast.

"And to see that he isn't selected … I think I do like and you do need to plan for the future, but a one-off Test against Australia in a must-win situation, I wouldn't be looking much further than Neil Wagner. And I'm sure the Australian batters are sleeping easy that he’s not in the side," Taylor added.

Wagner last week called time on his 64-Test career, bowing out as the country's fifth highest wicket-taker with 260 victims.

Wagner was picked in the squad for the two home Tests against Pat Cummins's Australia but was told by head coach Gary Stead that he would not play in either match.

He fought back tears as he confirmed his retirement from international cricket alongside Stead.

Born and raised in Pretoria, South Africa, Wagner migrated to New Zealand in 2008 and played a key role in his adopted nation's rise to the world No 1 ranking and the inaugural World Test Championship title win in 2021.

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