Home > Features >

Neil Wagner proves his worth with heroic bowling effort against India

Neil Wagner © Getty Images
Neil Wagner bowled incisively against India at Auckland © Getty Images

India were denied victory in the first Test by two poor umpiring calls and some good bowling by the New Zealand bowlers. Neil Wagner was the star for the Kiwis as he took four wickets in India’s run-chase. Trent Boult and Tim Southee have been earmarked as New Zealand’s pace spearheads heading into the future. Shrikant Shankar feels that Wagner is not far behind and with consistent performances, he can make New Zealand’s bowling department much better.

Neil Wagner has most of the times gone under the radar for New Zealand over the past one year. Trent Boult and Tim Southee have shared all the limelight for New Zealand’s better bowling displays in recent history. But Wagner is proving to be equally important for the Kiwis. Wagner is a left-arm medium-fast bowler who can bowl long spells and can swing the ball both ways. While Boult and Southee have run through oppositions, Wagner has taken some key wickets too.

Against India in the first Test in Auckland, Wagner proved to be the major difference when it came to New Zealand’s bowling. Wagner took four wickets in both of India’s innings as New Zealand won the match by a close margin of 40 runs on February 9, 2014. He had taken the wickets of Murali Vijay, MS Dhoni, Zaheer Khan and Mohammed Shami in the first innings. This showcased that he could take lower-order wickets and also dismiss some top batsmen on the way.

 

In the second innings, Wagner took the wickets of Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Dhoni and Zaheer. This showed that Wagner can take the wickets of top-order batsmen and especially when they are set. Dhawan was batting on 115 and Kohli was on 67 when Wagner dismissed both of them. He ran in hard and bowled some effort deliveries. Wagner is not the fastest, but he made the ball move and at fairly decent speeds. He used the short ball well and varied his pace quite well in the end.

A return of eight wickets in any Test match is considered to be really good and when it helps the team win a close match, it becomes even better. When India were closing in on the 407-run target, New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum used Wagner in two ways. He either gave him short spells to give his all or long spells to keep a check on the flow of runs. Wagner was expensive in the first innings, but in the second innings, he was New Zealand’s most economical bowler and that proved to be a crucial factor too.

Wagner is also known to take wickets at crucial junctures of a match. Last year in Auckland against England, Wagner claimed the wickets of Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell to almost help New Zealand win the Test and the three-match series, but it finished 0-0. He also dismissed Kevin Pietersen twice in the same series in Wellington. One of the dismissals was a first-ball duck. Even Shivnarine Chanderpaul has fallen to the swing of Wagner.

He is nowhere near the finished product, but he is relatively new to Test cricket. Wagner has only played in 13 Tests, so, the more he plays, the better he will get. India’s loss in the first Test can also be attributed to two controversial umpiring decisions, but Wagner’s efforts cannot be taken away lightly. He bowled well and deserved those wickets he snared. India have a third bowler to contend with, if they are to win the second Test starting from February 14 in Wellington.

(Shrikant Shankar is a writer/reporter at CricketCountry.com. Previously he has done audio commentary for various matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20 for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Dubai

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Cuttack

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Mount Maunganui

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Dhaka

More

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 6 wkts

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 17, 2014  at Dharamsala

India won by 59 runs

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 14, 2014  at Visakhapatnam

Match cancelled

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 12, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Australia won by 1 run

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 11, 2014  at Delhi

India won by 48 runs

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test at Dubai

Videos

AB de Villiers praises team after win in 1st ODI

Saeed Ajmal’s action to be assessed after two more weeks of remedial work under Saqlain Mushtaq

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 1 highlights: Younis Khan’s ton, Mitchell Johnson’s riveting spell

Steve O’Keefe and other Test cricketers with apostrophes in their surnames

Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Geoff Marsh and other Father-Son trios to have played Test cricket

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Why did Mohammad Hafeez go for a shocking review?

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 India New Zealand New Zealand vs South Africa New Zealand vs South Africa 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of New Zealand 2014 South Africa vs New Zealand South Africa vs New Zealand 2014

Aravinda de Silva’s house burgled; cash worth over Rs 5 million stolen

Jesse Ryder smashes 57 ball 136 for Otago against Ireland XI

Ottis Gibson: I was fired by West Indies Cricket Board (WICB)

Live Streaming: Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 2 at Dubai

Live Cricket Score: Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 2 at Dubai

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Mitchell Johnson shows signs of effectiveness on unhelpful surfaces

Joginder Sharma: When an over eclipses a career

South Africa vs New Zealand 2014: Vital for Brendon McCullum to find form quickly

Younis Khan: First Pakistani and 12th overall to score a century against all 9 Test nations

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 1 highlights: Younis Khan’s ton, Mitchell Johnson’s riveting spell

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

642 Posts | 9 Fans

Virat Kohli's Family Meets Anushka Sharma

Diwali special: Check out what gifts Deepika Padukone, Sonakshi Sinha, Hrithik Roshan should exchange this Diwali!

Lenovo RocStar music-focused Android KitKat smartphone with Dolby Digital Plus audio launched in India, priced at Rs 6,499

Narendra Modi to celebrate Diwali with soldiers at Siachen Glacier

Google’s new Inbox app is the Google Now of Gmail

इबोला : अंतर्राष्ट्रीय लड़ाई में क्यूबा का साथ देगा अमेरिका

इबोला से संक्रमित अमेरिकी फोटोग्राफर विषाणु मुक्त घोषित

How are Deepika Padukone, Katrina Kaif, Priyanka Chopra and Alia Bhatt celebrating Diwali?

Diwali 2014 Special: Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Sunny Leone – Top 7 Bollywood patakas we love!

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here