However, the fast-bowler battled through the pain and bowled in both the innings of the Test match with broken toes. The left-arm pacer needed pain-killing injections to see out the Test match. Now, the Black Caps coach said they couldn't let Wagner go through another experience like that.
Speaking to reporters at Christchurch airport, Gary Stead said:
"Neil was absolutely outstanding. I don’t think there are too many individuals who could do what he did in that test match. Neil hasn’t travelled with us. The injections he was getting (to lessen the pain) were wearing off (quickly) and we can’t let him go through that again.”
Stead also praised Pakistan for their resilient effort on the final day of the first Test, where they almost took the game away from the hosts.
"That was tough, really hard test cricket and it was good to come out on the right side of it against a tough Pakistan team. “I thought Mohammad Rizwan and Fawad Alam’s partnership was outstanding ... and they nearly took the game away from us. “That’s what makes Test cricket what it is,” Stead added.
Neil Wagner bowled 21 overs in the first innings and 28 overs in the second. He picked up four wickets in the match, including the crucial scalp of centurion Fawad Alam in the second innings. The Kiwis won the game by 101 runs.
Neil Wagner's incredible show of 'heart'
Neil Wagner is known for his grit and determination, and he is seen steaming in whether he is bowling the first ball of the day or his last. After taking a blow to his toes, the bowler had said he would carry on playing until they had to take him off on a stretcher.
"Test matches don't come easy. Playing for your country is never anything you can take for granted. I know how bloody hard I had to work to get to where I am now, and I'm sure as hell not going to sit on the side and watch other people do it. I want to be part of it and playing my part. Unless they carry me off on a stretcher, I'm going to try and do everything I can, I guess." said Neil Wagner.
Over the past few years, Wagner has emerged as an asset to the New Zealand side, given his ability to bowl long probing spells. The left-armer has picked up 219 wickets in 51 Tests at an average of 26.32.Published 31 Dec 2020, 14:10 IST