New Zealand pace spearhead Neil Wagner, who missed the first Test in Wellington owing to paternity leave, will return to the squad for the second Test in Christchurch. Gary Stead has also confirmed that Wagner will be back in playing XI despite the unit's great bowling performance in Wellington.
New Zealand lost Neil Wagner for the first Test as the latter decided to stay with his wife as the duo awaited the birth of their first child. The hosts called up Matt Henry as a cover while handing Kyle Jamieson a debut. The debutant grabbed the opportunity with open arms, dismantling the Indian line-up in a fine spell of seam bowling. However, they have dealt with a headache now as Wagner is all set to make a comeback in the second Test at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch, starting February 29.
"Yeah, that's always good selection dilemmas to have. Neil Wagner will come back and he's been a force in our team for a long time, and obviously Kyle Jamieson made the most of his debut, and the way he played, I thought, was outstanding as well, did a really good job for us," New Zealand coach Gary Stead said in the press conference, reported ESPNCricinfo.
"You always think about those things, but I think Neil Wagner, it was pretty hard missing one Test let alone two Tests, so no, he'll be back with us without a doubt."
That might mean New Zealand will probably leave out spinner Ajaz Patel to form a four-man pace attack at the Hagley Oval which has traditionally been a favoourable seam bowling conditions. As a matter of fact, Patel bowled only six overs across both the innings, which makes him the most likely candidate to miss out on this Test.
"I think we always consider those things. We'll go down there, look at the wicket, we're still three or four days out at this stage, so don't want to make any assumptions before we get down there, but generally the wicket we play on at Hagley has a wee bit in it as well," the former opener added.
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