Neil Wagner played a vital role in the New Zealand cricket team's victory in the first Test against Pakistan. The Kiwi pacer won the respect of Pakistan captain Mohammad Rizwan by continuing to bowl despite suffering two broken toes.
Mohammad Rizwan earned an opportunity to lead the Pakistan cricket team after Babar Azam's injury. The wicket-keeper batsman recorded a fifty in both innings of the first Test. However, his team lost the match by 101 runs courtesy of some excellent bowling performances from the New Zealand side.
Neil Wagner has been a crucial part of the Kiwi fast bowling lineup in Tests. Unfortunately, he recently injured his toes and took a series of injections to appear for the New Zealand cricket team.
Despite two broken toes, Wagner bowled a spell of 11 consecutive overs in the fourth innings and troubled the Pakistani batsmen. Eventually, he ended with figures of 28-9-55-2. The impact of Wagner's spell was much higher than the numbers suggest.
"I can't explain Neil Wagner. Eleven overs in a row on an injured toe, he's a different guy. His aggression was beautiful. He's a big bowler," said Mohammad Rizwan after the match.
The New Zealand cricket team had confirmed an undisplaced-fracture to Neil Wagner's fourth toe of his right foot on Monday. He received permission to play if he could tolerate the pain. Wagner bowled 21 overs in the first innings and returned with 2/50. In the second innings, he picked up the crucial wickets of Fawad Alam and Faheem Ashraf.
We needed Neil Wagner out there and he delivered: Kane Williamson
New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson revealed was proud of Neil Wagner and lauded the left-arm fast bowler's efforts after the game.
"People talk about the size of his heart but to have a couple of broken toes… he was in a lot of pain. We were trying to use him when the injection was taking effect. It was kind of unique for all of us, but in particular Neil. It was a very, very special effort from Wags, one that the team appreciated. We needed him out there and he delivered," said Williamson.Published 30 Dec 2020, 15:33 IST