New Zealand news March 30, 2012

Wagner unsure when he can play for New Zealand

ESPNcricinfo staff

Neil Wagner, the South African-born Otago left-arm fast bowler, may not be eligible to play for New Zealand from next month as he previously believed. Wagner has completed four seasons with Otago but two factors may stand in the way of his gaining eligibility before New Zealand's tour of West Indies in June. The first is that the ICC requires a player to live in a country for four years, not for four cricket seasons, to play for that country - Wagner started playing in New Zealand in November 2008. The second is that the player has to spend 183 consecutive days in the country in each of the four years. Wagner has had two short trips out of New Zealand in his time there: a six-day trip back to South Africa in December 2008 to attend his brother's wedding and a trip to India with Otago for the Champions League T20 in October 2009.

Wagner said he hoped the holiday in South Africa would not affect his gaining eligibility since he had still spent 183 days in New Zealand that year. "I was 100% under the impression it would be okay," Wagner said. "They said I could go back for family reasons and if I still spent 183 days in the year in the country then I would be fine.

"I can't see how they think the Champions League trip would be a problem because it's the reason you are here and work is taking you out of the country. Hopefully they will overlook that one. The other factor I heard was it was four years and not four seasons. I have no idea."

New Zealand Cricket has said it will seek clarification from the ICC while national selection manager Kim Littlejohn said the team wanted to have Wagner available as soon as possible. Wagner's inclusion in the New Zealand team has been highly anticipated after two prolific seasons on the domestic circuit. In the 2010-11 season, he was named the most valuable player of the Plunket Shield, after taking 51 wickets in nine games in the competition, including a record five wickets in one over, against Wellington. This season, he topped the wicket-takers' list again, with 46 wickets in 10 games.

Wagner said being unsure of when he could play for New Zealand was stressful but he would not give up on it. "It's not in my hands. You just have to sit, be patient, and wait and listen. It's not easy, I'm not going to lie, because it's been a long wait. You build your hopes up and look forward to this and build your whole season around it.

"It's pretty stressful and plays on your nerves. I will be patient and not try to work myself up too much about it. I can honestly say I'm not giving up. Although it has meant I might have to wait longer, that's what I will have to do. I won't turn my back on New Zealand or Otago cricket because they have been good to me."

Edited by Dustin Silgardo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Matty on April 2, 2012, 14:48 GMT

    cant wait to see wagner in the black caps side id love to see wagner,bracewell,milne,boult with gillespie,southee,mclenaghan etc etc pushing for a spot i think its ridicolous that we are forced to hold back a guy who could definitely add that real wicket taking ability to our test team

  • Leon on April 2, 2012, 13:03 GMT

    Lermy I see your angle but 4 years is a long commitment for anyone to leave their home country, especially with no guarantee you will make it and especially in the deep south of NZ! That's enough to get me on board. It shows he has heart and is a passionate cricketer with high expectations and goals. He has also proven himself to comfortably be the best bowler in domestic cricket over the past two seasons. And basically I just want to win, like every other human in NZ. So get him in there ASAP!

  • Kevin on April 2, 2012, 3:16 GMT

    I disagree with the sentiments of others here. Wagner SHOULD do the required time first. Otherwise the NZ cricket team becomes just another "professional club", and the whole point of representing your country is lost. If we want the best players from SA to be the only ones playing so called international cricket, then fine, let them all come here. But lets not call the team NZ, because it won't be. Lets call it the Aotearoa Allstars or some other trashy IPL type name. That way every one knows what it represents. If Wagner is so good and has any patriotism, why hasn't he stayed in SA to represent HIS country. And what encouragement is there for young NZ players to aspire to international honours for THEIR country when all the spots are taken by South Africans, Zimbabweans, etc....???

  • Dummy4 on April 1, 2012, 11:23 GMT

    hey you will play for new zeal INSAHALLAH i m big fan of new zeal and from Pakistan

  • James on March 31, 2012, 1:23 GMT

    Good luck, and hopefully you'll be available ASAP. I bet I'm not the only Dunedinite with fingers crossed that you'll be eligible sooner rather than later.

  • Dylan on March 31, 2012, 0:46 GMT

    Very eager to see this guy playing for us, our team would be a much better unit with him as well. Surely he has waited long enough to be eligible, it would be unfair on him and New Zealand fans to not see him on this upcoming West Indies tour. A great talent is being kept away from the big stage because of a silly rule that quite obviously needs to be clarified, rewritten or done away with completely.

  • Dummy4 on March 30, 2012, 15:13 GMT

    best of luck Wagner i m earely waiting for your debut in International cricket for New Zealand, fan from India.

  • Dummy4 on March 30, 2012, 13:48 GMT

    in the earlier years during the apartheid period southafrican cricketers used 2 travel to uk 2 set up their careers in county cricket if successful they would go on 2 become england cricketers.... but these days the trend has changed where most of southafricans like krugerwanwyk, bj.watling hav already played international cricket for newzealand whr as wagner is just 1 step away frm fulfilling his dream ... and also westernaustralian dean brownlie had already represented nz in tests and odi's and his fellow statesman lukeronchi is in line for kiwi's all about grabbing opportunity vth both hands.....

  • Jack on March 30, 2012, 12:50 GMT

    We keenly anticipate your inclusion mate, and all the best in working through that red tape!

    The article only states Wagner "started playing in NZ in November 2008", but doesn't mention when he actually moved over here - wish the article mentioned that detail instead.

    Whichever month he moved over is when he can start playing this year (ie. it will be 4 years since then) and neither of the trips overseas factor into the equation, unless he spent 182 days playing in the Champions' League!

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