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Will injury struck New Zealand call Neil Wagner for one last dance?

Wagner had recently bid an emotional farewell to international cricket, announcing his retirement just before the Test series against Australia.

Neil Wagner

New Zealand is contemplating a potential recall of retired pace sensation Neil Wagner for the second Test against Australia. It comes as a response to an injury setback to fast bowler Will O’Rourke. The host team endured a comprehensive 172-run defeat in the opening Test in Wellington, prompting Captain Tim Southee to consider Wagner as a reinforcement.

Wagner had recently bid an emotional farewell to international cricket, announcing his retirement just before the Test series against Australia. Despite initially planning for his release from the squad for the second Test in Christchurch, Wagner might make a surprising return due to unforeseen circumstances.

Southee acknowledged the ongoing discussions, waiting to assess O’Rourke’s condition before making a definitive decision. The captain emphasised the need for flexibility in the squad, especially given Wagner’s exemplary track record and the uncertainty surrounding O’Rourke’s injury.

“We haven’t had a lot of discussions as yet. We’ll see how Will scrubs up. The physiotherapist hasn’t sort of put a time frame on it or how bad it is. We’ll just wait and see how Will goes over the next couple of days. I’m sure there’ll be an update in the next 24 hours,” said Southee.

Wagner, a South African-born pacer, earned accolades with 260 wickets in 64 Test matches. Despite his recent retirement, the prospect of a comeback has gained traction, fueled by the team’s current predicament. Southee highlighted the positive reception Wagner received during the past week, hinting at the sentimental and strategic value he brings to the squad.

“World’s shortest retirement,”  Pat Cummins taunts Kiwis!

Meanwhile, Australian skipper Pat Cummins, recognising Wagner’s capabilities, expressed support for his potential return. Cummins described Wagner’s retirement as the “world’s shortest,” endorsing the idea of reinstating the experienced bowler if deemed essential for the team’s performance.

“The world’s shortest retirement. I mean, why not? If he’s your next best bowler that you think is going to perform, then go for it. I’ve faced him before. It’d be good to see. He’s high energy. It’s been good fun chatting with him each morning out here, so see how he goes,” said Cummins.

While Australia has secured the Trans-Tasman Trophy for the 12th consecutive time, New Zealand faces critical decisions leading up to the second Test. The possible return of Neil Wagner, once seen as a farewell gesture, adds an unexpected twist to the narrative, showcasing the dynamic nature of international cricket and the strategic considerations teams must navigate to stay competitive.

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