The news of Neil Wagner‘s unfortunate dual injury has come as a significant blow to both New Zealand cricket and his county side, Yorkshire. Wagner had exited the field late in the third session on day three feeling discomfort in his back and leg, and following a failed fitness test before play on Sunday he’s been ruled out of the second Test against Sri Lanka with a bulging disc in his back and a torn right hamstring with an expected recovery time of six weeks. This means Wagner will likely miss out on participating for Yorkshire when their first County Championship fixture kicks off against Leicestershire on April 6. It looks like New Zealand will have to dig deep for an appropriate replacement for Wagner, as he remains one of their most experienced bowlers.
New Zealand have called upon seamer Doug Bracewell for their squad and coach Gary Stead has voiced his disappointment at the absence of Neil due to injury. Despite this, Stead spoke highly of Bracewell and is confident he will be an asset in the Test match. He claims that the bowler has been exhibiting strong form across formats and will offer great support to the other bowlers in the team. This addition looks likely to pay off in New Zealand’s favor as they aim to win the Test match and remain competitive on the international stage.
Doug Bracewell has been called back into the New Zealand Test squad, providing much-needed experience following his three-year absence. Although Tim Southee, Matt Henry, and Blair Tickner have all returned from injury to feature in the opening Test of the summer, they haven’t had much time to prove themselves in a red ball format – which is where Bracewell comes in. With 27 Tests and 72 wickets under his belt he could be just what New Zealand need to steady their pace attack. Scott Kuggeleijn represents a more recent addition to the test team, having debuted only last month, however there is no doubt that the 32 year old Bracewell contributes valuable experience to the side. Will Young has also been included within the squad, yet will be released to participate in Plunket Shield until Friday when he joins up with the squad again for the second Test. All of these moves demonstrate the confidence New Zealand have in their players; however it remains to be seen who rises to the challenge when play begins on Saturday.
Will certainly has had some top-notch cricket under his belt, and the next Test coming up is a good opportunity for him to keep the momentum going. coach Stead believes it’s important that Will continue getting as much practice in as possible, as this will help him prepare adequately for the upcoming challenge. While attending first-class matches also aids in introducing a mental aspect that can often be over overlooked when players are stuck in same environment leading up to an upcoming game.