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Southee Cautious About Wagner’s Inclusion in Christchurch Test

Southee Cautious About Wagner’s Inclusion in Christchurch Test

Tim Southee, New Zealand’s Test skipper, has left the door open for a surprise return of Neil Wagner to the Test XI for the second game of the series against Australia. Wagner recently retired from international cricket after being left out of the XI for the ongoing series against Australia. However, a hamstring injury to Will O’Rourke in the first Test has created a slim possibility of Wagner being recalled to the XI.

O’Rourke sustained a hamstring injury during Australia’s second innings of the first Test and did not bowl again. However, he did bat in the New Zealand second innings. Wagner, meanwhile, appeared as a substitute fielder during the Test to a warm reception from the crowd.

“We haven’t had extensive discussions yet,” Southee said after New Zealand’s loss. “We’ll see how Will recovers. The physio hasn’t provided a timeframe or severity of the injury. We’ll wait and see how Will progresses over the next few days. I’m sure there will be an update in the next 24 hours.

“We need to decide who comes in and what role we see for them in Christchurch. Wagner received a warm reception here over the last week with a couple of moments on the field, and he’s been a fan favorite for a long time.”

However, Southee ruled out long-time new-ball partner Trent Boult from contention. The 34-year-old, who has only been playing T20 cricket recently, hasn’t played a Test match since June 2022. Southee was also less critical of Scott Kuggeleijn, who, in his second Test match, couldn’t quite fill the gap left by O’Rourke’s injury.

“Kuggeleijn bowled well at times,” Southee acknowledged. “It was tough out there with the wind. He picked up a couple of crucial wickets in the first innings. With only two matches under his belt and a year between Test matches, it’s not easy to make an impact immediately.”

Southee admitted that Cameron Green’s brilliant century in the first innings was the decisive factor in the match. Green’s unbeaten 174, along with Josh Hazlewood’s resistance, frustrated the hosts as the last-wicket pair added 116 runs.

“I think we missed a chance to get Green out on the second morning,” Southee reflected. “After the way he played the night before, we expected him to come out aggressively. We should have looked to dismiss him early on the second morning to make things easier for ourselves.”

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