KARACHI: Ahead of New Zealand's second Test against Pakistan starting from Monday in Karachi, head coach Gary Stead has expressed confidence in senior left-arm pacer Neil Wagner coming good on the tour, saying he still had a lot of cricket left in him.
In the drawn first Test at Karachi, Wagner, 36, took just one wicket across both innings. In 60 Tests, Wagner has picked 247 wickets, but in 2022, he could pick only 18 wickets and was not included in New Zealand's first two Tests as they were beaten 3-0 by England in June 2022.
"Neil's obviously further at the back than the start of his test career - there's no doubt about that. But he's a guy that'll run through brick walls for you as well. He's been an important part of this bowling unit for a long, long time now."
"He complements the other guys with the skill sets he has, and being left arm with that slightly different angle as well. I still believe Neil has a lot of cricket left in him - please don't take that the wrong way," Stead was quoted as saying by newshub.
Stead indicated that with just a two days gap between the start of first and second Test, New Zealand will make changes to their playing eleven. "You're always looking at the side, and what you feel is the best mix of seamers that you need."
"You come to these conditions, and at times you don't go in with more than two. Sometimes teams go in with one and a part-timer as well. They're the different options you always weigh up as you go to different conditions around the world."
Stead added that the opening pair of Tom Latham and Devon Conway, put on a stand of 183 runs in New Zealand's first innings, will be retained for the second Karachi Test. "We've looked at that for a while now. Devon and Tom batted beautifully at the top for us as well."
"We weigh up all of our options in the team. It's been unfortunate we've had injuries with the top order and how we shape the top order. In this case, we felt Devon and Tom was the right way to go."