Neil Wagner’s Possible Return: Injury to Will O’Rourke Opens Door for One Last Dance

Neil Wagner's Epic Return: O'Rourke's Injury Sparks Comeback

Neil Wagner’s Possible Return: Injury to Will O’Rourke Opens Door for One Last Dance

An injury to Will O’Rourke may provide an opportunity for Neil Wagner to step out of retirement for the final Test against Australia in Christchurch.

O’Rourke had to leave the field on the third day of the first Test, making a comeback only to bat again in the final innings. New Zealand, however, fell short by 172 runs.

When asked about O’Rourke’s injury, Tim Southee did not rule out the possibility of Wagner’s return. Wagner, who had officially retired from international cricket just days before the start of the first Test, made a brief appearance as a substitute fielder, receiving warm applause from the crowd.

Related Article: Neil Wagner Announces Retirement from International Cricket

Neil Wagner, who retired one day and became a sub fielder the next, was initially named in the squad for the two Tests. However, he was later informed that he was unlikely to be part of the playing XI. This led the 37-year-old to decide to retire.

“We haven’t had many discussions yet,” Southee said. “We’ll see how Will’s condition is. The physio hasn’t given a timeframe or indicated how severe it is. We’ll wait and see how Will fares over the next few days. I’m sure there’ll be an update in the next 24 hours.”

“We obviously have to decide who comes in and what role they will play in Christchurch.”

“Wagner has received a great reception here over the last week where he had a couple of moments on the field and he’s been a fan favourite for a long time.”

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Southee definitively ruled out Trent Boult’s comeback for the final Test. Boult, who last played in a Test match in June 2022, had requested to be left out of New Zealand’s central contract list in August of the same year.

“I don’t think his loading is up to it on the back of T20,” Southee said.

Following a heavy 172-run loss to Australia in the first Test, New Zealand slid to the second position in the World Test Championship standings.

Related Article: India Moves to the Top of the World Test Championship Standings

Cameron Green’s resilient innings of 174* propelled Australia into a commanding position after their first-innings effort. Despite New Zealand being dismissed for a mere 179, Australia opted not to enforce the follow-on, instead choosing to build on their lead to 204 runs.

Glenn Phillips’s maiden Test five-for restricted Australia to 164 but the target of 369 proved too big for the Black Caps. Nathan Lyon spun a web around the hosts, bagging a six-wicket haul and a 10-for in the match to bowl New Zealand out for 196.