New Zealand head coach Gary Stead has confirmed that star fast bowler Neil Wagner has been ruled out of the second Test in Christchurch starting from January 3 (Sunday), against Pakistan, due to a toe injury. Meanwhile, the Kiwis are currently 1-0 up in the series which propelled them to the top of the ICC Test Rankings for the first time in history.
Incidentally, Neil Wagner bowled 49 overs in the first Test at Mount Maunganui with a broken toe and picked four wickets, striking at critical moments in the game, to help the hosts to a 101-run win over Pakistan. Showering heaps of praise on the left-arm fast bowler, head coach Gary Stead said that the former hasn’t travelled with the squad to treat his fractured feet.
“Neil was absolutely outstanding,” Stead was quoted as saying by Reuters. “I don’t think there are too many individuals who could do what he did in that Test match. “Neil hasn’t travelled with us. The injections he was getting (to lessen the pain) were wearing off (quickly) and we can’t let him go through that again,” he added.
Matt Henry replaces Neil Wagner
Right-arm fast bowler Matt Henry has been roped into the New Zealand squad for the second Test against Pakistan at Hagley Oval. He will replace Neil Wagner, who is recovering from “undisplaced fractures”, in both fourth and fifth toes of his right foot. Wagner is likely to recover in six weeks time, a New Zealand Cricket release stated.
Henry has been in good rhythm in the practice games leading to the Test series and Gary Stead stated the tall and lanky pacer brings in Test experience and local knowledge to the squad.
“Matt has been in good form with the ball having recently taken 6-53 for New Zealand A against the Pakistan Shaheens (A side) in December,” Stead said. “We’re still a couple of days out from the Test, so need to take a look at the surface while also assessing our options for best-possible team make-up,” he added.
New Zealand Test squad
Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, BJ Watling (wk), Will Young