England in New Zealand 2012-13

Wagner added to NZ Test squad

Andrew McGlashan in Queenstown

March 2, 2013

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Neil Wagner removed Kevin Pietersen, New Zealand XI v England XI, Tour match, Queenstown, 3rd day, March 1, 2013
Neil Wagner was selected for the first Test against England and hopes to make the most of his opportunity © Getty Images
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Neil Wagner, who started Saturday by being called into the New Zealand squad and finished it hitting the winning runs in Queenstown, singled out Kevin Pietersen's lack of runs as a significant boost for the home side going into the first Test in Dunedin after the New Zealand XI managed to disrupt England's preparations

Wagner claimed six wickets in the match, and produced some lively spells in the second innings to trouble England's batsmen. Pietersen made scores of 12 and 8 in his first match of the tour, while Nick Compton hit 21 and 1. For both those players, the four-day match in Queenstown was their only chance to spend time in the middle, ahead of the Test series.

"For me, personally, it was a good thing that the top order, apart from Belly (Ian Bell) who played exceptionally, hasn't had a long hit out there," Wagner said. "Guys like Kevin haven't batted that long in this tour match…so it's good that he's going into the Test without much batting under his belt. It does help us. We can hammer on his confidence and try to give him nothing."

He also believes there were useful points picked up about England's batsmen which those who are playing for the New Zealand XI, and are now transferring to the Test squad, can take with them. "There were a couple of things, obviously things we'll keep quiet about," he said. "It's nice to have a little bit of a look. In a game like this you can have a look at things real close and search for little spots of weakness."

New Zealand may yet decide to field an all-pace attack in the first Test, which would mean Wagner, who has three caps, could line up alongside Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Doug Bracewell. However, if they opt to give a debut to left-arm spinner Bruce Martin, then Wagner could find himself carrying the drinks.

Wagner, for obvious reasons, was clear what he thought should be done. "I can't see why we wouldn't play four seamers - that's just by personal opinion - but any time I get a chance, I'll be happy to try and grab it and make the most of it." He has only managed five wickets in the early stages of his Test career, but has had a productive Plunket Shield season with 30 wickets at 25.43.

"I had a couple of chances before, and I would have liked to have done better," he said. "But I've worked a lot on certain parts of my game which I needed to fine tune and sometimes, unfortunately, with those sorts of things, you have to play more to get those things working as it doesn't always come out in the nets. Playing a bit of first-class cricket I felt like something started clicking, and I had a lot of confidence coming into the game. I'm pretty stoked about it."

"It was a very special day. It's something I've been working hard for. You just have to keep fighting every day to find yourself a spot. That's what I've been trying to do so I'm very pleased with that, and it was nice to get the news this morning. Then to finish the game off like we did and get a win was like the cherry on the top."

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by   on (March 3, 2013, 9:49 GMT)

Steve, no Elliot and Watling are both South African born.

Posted by landl47 on (March 2, 2013, 18:54 GMT)

Have to laugh at Sachit1979's comment. Wasn't just a few months ago that England couldn't win on the subcontinent because they couldn't play spin? Now apparently they can't play seam!

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (March 2, 2013, 18:51 GMT)

KP seldom seems to do well in warm-up matches, and in fact it's sometimes very frustrating when we hear rumours that he doesn't take them seriously. No doubt he'll be fine in the tests themselves, but I'll be looking forward to watching how he handles his first over he faces in the first test: cautiously, or confidently!

Posted by OhhhhhMattyMatty on (March 2, 2013, 10:22 GMT)

Well that's the end of Graham Onions' brief International career. Send him home now and call up Harris or Meaker.

Posted by Sachit1979 on (March 2, 2013, 3:46 GMT)

England in Indian tour have proved that spin is not big trouble for them so Wagner should play ahead of Martin.

Posted by   on (March 2, 2013, 1:46 GMT)

Haha, it's not just us English who have South Africans then! Anyway, just listened to "Disintegration" by The Cure - perfect soundtrack to what's happened to some of the pitches we've seen of late! Looking forward to it.

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Andrew McGlashanClose
Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
Tour Results
New Zealand v England at Auckland - Mar 22-26, 2013
Match drawn
New Zealand v England at Wellington - Mar 14-18, 2013
Match drawn
New Zealand v England at Dunedin - Mar 6-10, 2013
Match drawn
NZ XI v England XI at Queenstown - Feb 27-Mar 2, 2013
NZ XI won by 3 wickets
New Zealand v England at Auckland - Feb 23, 2013
England won by 5 wickets (with 75 balls remaining)
More results »
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News | Features Last 3 days