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)

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 23, 2014 (08:50 IST)   at Sydney

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 23, 2014 (12:00 IST)   at Chittagong

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

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

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 24, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Sharjah

More

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 22, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 87 runs

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Melbourne

Australia won by 3 wkts

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 20, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled(Match rescheduled to 21/11/2014)

Photos

Australia vs South Africa, 3rd ODI at Canberra

Videos

SL vs Eng: Buttler practices wicketkeeping in nets

Live Cricket Score Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2nd ODI at Chittagong: Bangladesh make steady start

Live Cricket Score Vijay Hazare Trophy 2014-15 Odisha vs Punjab Semi-Final 2: Odisha fight to post respectable total

Live Cricket Score Vijay Hazare Trophy 2014-15 Bengal vs Karnataka Semi-Final 1: Karnataka post challenging target

Live Cricket Score Australia vs South Africa 2014, 5th ODI at Sydney: Farhaan Behardien cameo guides SA to 280/6 after 50 overs

India vs Australia 2014: How crucial are India’s practice games ahead of the first Test?

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

Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014: Bangladesh 42/0 after 10 overs

VIjay Hazare Trophy 2014: Karnataka set Bengal 269-run target

South Africa set a target of 281 for Australia in 5th ODI at Sydney Cricket Ground

Australia vs South Africa 2014: Farhaan Behardien scores his 2nd ODI half-century

Vijay Hazare Trophy 2014-15: Odisha crawl to 238/7 versus Punjab

ICC World Cup 2015: Australia in risk of overkill

Is Dhawal Kulkarni a contender for India’s ICC World Cup 2015 squad?

World Cup 1992: Arjuna Ranatunga masterminds first ever 300-plus ODI chase

India vs Australia 2014: How crucial are India’s practice games ahead of the first Test?

Rohit Sharma: India are serious contenders

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

681 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Virat Kohli vs Australian cricketers

Watch Free Live Streaming & Telecast of Indian Super League (ISL) 2014 Football 37th Match between Kerala Blasters FC vs Atletico de Kolkata

PK Tharki Chokro making: Rancho aka Aamir Khan and Munna Bhai aka Sanjay Dutt shake legs to this folk number

Simbu-Hansika’s Vaalu slated for Christmas release!

Yeh Hai Mohabbatein: Will Raman and Ishita help Mihika with her plans?

Alibaba to launch its Taobao marketplace in international markets: Reuters

8 reasons to add rosemary to your diet

eBay India ‘Black Friday’ sale kicks off today

How many calories do bananas have?

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here