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)

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 24, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Glenelg, Adelaide

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Sharjah

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 28, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Adelaide

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 28, 2014 (12:00 IST)   at Dhaka

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 29, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

More

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 26, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 124 runs

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 26, 2014  at Colombo

Sri Lanka won by 25 runs

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 24, 2014  at Colombo

Hong Kong won by 2 wkts

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 68 runs

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Sydney

Australia won by 2 wickets (D/L method)

Photos

Phil Hughes suffers head injury: In photos

Videos

AB de Villiers: Disappointed with defeat in Australia

Sachin Tendulkar express shock on Phillip Hughes’ death

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) must be disqualified, says Supreme Court

Virat Kohli mourns Phil Hughes’ death

Phil Hughes passes away: Twitter reactions

Australia Bangladesh Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014 England India India tour of Australia 2014-15 Pakistan Phil Hughes Phil Hughes head injury South Africa Sri Lanka Zimbabwe Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh 2014 Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh 2014

Phillip Hughes’ death: Sad day for cricket, says Dilip Vengsarkar

Supreme Court revelations just tip of iceberg, says Kirti Azad

Phillip Hughes death: Pakistan cricketers offer condolences

Phillip Hughes passes away: India-Australia 1st Test in doubt

India tour game against CA XI cancelled: Report

IPL 2013 spot-fixing controversy: When Will the Supreme Court make the whole Mudgal report public?

Phillip Hughes 7th-youngest Test cricketer to die

Phillip Hughes: A brief look at the career of one of Australia’s most promising talents

Phillip Hughes: Rest in peace

Moeen Ali becomes third fastest centurion for England in ODIs

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

682 Posts | 6 Fans

Video: Phil Hughes suffers head injury, collapses on field during New South Wales vs South Australia tie

Health benefits of camphor (karpur)

9 signs you have vitamin A deficiency

Sonakshi Sinha: If I and Arjun watch a film together, it doesn’t mean we are together!

More broadband connections to boost GDP growth in Asia Pacific: GSMA

Phillip Hughes dead: Michael Clarke reads out emotional message by family – Watch Full Video

India is becoming our largest overseas market, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun says

Gautam Gulati Birthday Special: Bollywood calling for the Bigg Boss 8 contestant?

Does Sonakshi Sinha have more screen time than Anushka Shetty in Rajinikanth’s Lingaa?

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here