South African-born Neil Wagner is moving from Otago to Northern Districts for the 2018-19 New Zealand domestic season.
The 32-year-old Black Cap has accepted an offer to move to Northern Districts after 10 years with Otago. The left-arm paceman played 190 matches for the Volts, picking up 579 wickets. He has also taken 149 Test wickets for New Zealand, with best figures of 7-39.
Wagner is second on the list of New Zealand wicket-takers in the last year with 19 sticks, just behind kingpin Trent Boult on 25.
‘It’s extremely tough to leave Otago, a region that has been extremely good to me and I’ve been honoured to represent,’ said Wagner. ‘Otago Cricket gave me my first opportunity in New Zealand and for that, I’ll be eternally grateful. I want to thank all my past and present teammates, the staff at Otago Cricket and the Otago fans for the support they’ve given me over the past 10 years. Otago will always hold a special place in my heart.
‘Having recently moved to Tauranga, logistically it makes sense to represent Northern Districts and I thank them for the exciting new opportunity.’
CEO of Otago Cricket Mike Coggan expressed his thanks for Wagner’s contribution to the province over the past decade.
‘Undoubtedly Neil will be a huge loss to Otago, but at the same time, we wish him all the very best as he moves on to new beginnings. He’s been a huge part of Otago Cricket for a decade and we will miss his big smile and personality,’ said Coggan.
‘Losing a player of the quality of Neil will always leave a hole in your team, but I fully understand his reasons. Neil is a passionate cricketer who gives 100% every time as he did so for Otago for many years. I wish him well in this next chapter, he deserves whatever successes come his way,’ said Otago Volts coach Rob Walter.
Wagner’s cricket education began at Afrikaans High School for Boys in Pretoria, and he went on to make his first-class debut in 2005-06 for Northerns, taking 4-39 and 4-54 against North West. He was part of the South African national academy side that toured Zimbabwe and Bangladesh in 2006-07 and fielded as twelfth man in two Tests in Centurion.
He finished as the leading wicket-taker in the 2006-07 provincial challenge with 39 wickets but, failing to break into the national team, he moved to New Zealand in search of Test match cricket. Wagner made his Test debut for New Zealand against the West Indies at North Sound in 2012, taking 1-112 and 0-32. He has since played regularly for the Black Caps, earning 36 Test caps, including five five-wicket hauls.
Zimbabwean-born New Zealand cricketer Colin de Grandhomme has just announced that he will be moving from Auckland to join Wagner at Northern Districts, who finished in fourth spot on the Plunket Shield Table in 2017-2018.
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