Black Caps star announces end of Test career

Publish Date
Tuesday, 27 February 2024, 1:36PM

Neil Wagner, the fiery Black Caps paceman and fan favourite, has decided to end his 64-Test career, making his exit after the Test series against Australia starting Thursday.

The 37-year-old will not be part of the starting XI for the first Test at the Cello Basin Reserve and will be released from the squad ahead of the second Test in Christchurch.

Wagner will wrap up his career ranking fifth on New Zealand’s list of top Test wicket-takers, boasting 260 wickets at an average of 27. His impressive strike rate of 52 is surpassed only by the legendary Sir Richard Hadlee (50) among New Zealanders with over 100 Test wickets.

Wagner said the decision was not easy and it had been “an emotional week” but it was clear it was the right time to move on.

“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 Black Caps 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.

“I’d like to thank my wife Lana for her support in helping me be the man I am today and for helping bring our two little girls Olivia and Zahli, and our boy Josh into the world.

“I’m looking forward to one final week in camp and will be doing everything I can to help prepare and support the boys.”

Acknowledging the significance of his friendships and bonds built over his career, Wagner thanked everyone who played a part in his journey and emphasized his hope that his legacy is one of contributing to the team’s success.

Throughout his 64 Tests, Wagner secured 32 victories and claimed 143 wickets at an average of 22 in those triumphs. Originally from South Africa, he moved to Dunedin in 2008 to play domestic cricket for Otago, later relocating to Papamoa in 2018 to represent Northern Districts.

Debuting for the Black Caps in 2012, Wagner played a pivotal role in the team’s rise to the number one ICC Test world ranking and their triumph in the inaugural ICC World Test Championship in 2021.

Black Caps coach Gary Stead praised Wagner’s impact beyond statistics, highlighting his accuracy, execution, and tenacity in crucial moments.

“Neil’s numbers are phenomenal, but I don’t think we can underestimate his contributions to the team when the chips were down and he found a way to create a wicket.

“His accuracy, execution and tenacity has been instrumental in many of our great Test victories and he will always be remembered for his lion-hearted nature.

“Neil gave absolutely everything to the BLACKCAPS and we are certainly going to miss his energy and ‘never give in’ attitude.”

Test captain Tim Southee described Wagner as a great team player with unwavering commitment.

“You always knew what you were going to get with Neil and that was 100 per cent commitment to the cause,” he said.

“He would do anything for the team and has earned nothing but respect and admiration within the dressing room.

“Personally, I’ve enjoyed a great relationship with Neil on and off the field and am sure our friendship will continue for years to come.

“It’s going to be great to have him with us this week for the first Test and we’ll look forward to celebrating his incredible career at the end of the match.”

This article was first published on and is republished here with permission

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