Neil Wagner, the South Africa-born fast bowler, is now eligible to play for New Zealand, the ICC has confirmed. Wagner had moved to New Zealand in 2008 and his inclusion in the New Zealand team has been highly anticipated, following two prolific seasons on the domestic circuit.
Last month, there was some doubt over how soon Wagner would be eligible to play for New Zealand. The ICC's regulations state that a player must reside in the relevant country for a minimum of 183 days for four consecutive years to qualify. Wagner had had two short trips out of New Zealand during his time there but received positive rulings on his applications for these two absences to be viewed as exceptional circumstances, prompting him to be declared eligible.
The New Zealand board had submitted the applications on Wagner's behalf to the ICC's exceptional circumstances committee, who then made a recommendation to cricket committee chairman Clive Lloyd.
During his run in domestic cricket, where he has represented Notherns and more recently Otago, Wagner was named the most valuable player of the Plunket Shield for 2010-11, after taking 51 wickets in nine games in the competition. That included a record five wickets in one over, against Wellington. In the 2011-12 season he had topped the wicket-takers' list again, with 46 wickets in 10 games.
New Zealand's next international assignment is a tour of the Caribbean that begins in Florida at the end of June.