Wagner will put friendships aside on the field
New Zealand fast bowler Neil Wagner will be looking to put friendships aside when they take on England in a two-match Test series starting in Auckland on Thursday.
Left-arm paceman Wagner, who has taken in 34 Tests, spent time with Essex in the County Championship last year, picking up 31 wickets in a title-winning season.
Wagner was a teammate Alastair Cook at the English county and revealed that the pair have shared good banter ahead of the series.
The South African-born Wagner said: “He’s a great lad, loved spending time with him in the Essex changing room. He’s a top man and I’m looking forward to going back.
“There has been some funny banter between myself and him even before this series got close so I look forward to playing against him.
“It will be quite an interesting battle then afterwards we can sit down, have a laugh and talk about it.
“That’s the nice part about cricket. Going around the world and playing with these guys and then against them. You make some good friends and then you have to put that aside, have a good battle and have a beer afterwards again.”
Wagner has become the Black Caps’ enforcer, bowling plenty of short balls to opposition batsmen following the opening the spells of Trent Boult and Tim Southee.
England’s batsman struggled with short-pitched bowling during the Ashes series but Wagner was not giving anything away when asked if he will employ hostile tactics for the visitors.
The 32-year-old said: “It’s summing up conditions, if the wicket allows it and if the ball doesn’t swing you’ve got to try and find a way of getting modes of dismissal or create something.
“We’ll look at some scouting footage in the next few days and plan accordingly.”
On this day in 2014: Graeme Smith calls time on South Africa career
The then 33-year-old opening batter called time on his international career after 347 matches.
Glenn Phillips grabs five wickets as New Zealand cling to hope
Phillips finished with figures of 5-45 as Australia were bowled out for 164.
Somerset ‘open’ to allowing rising talent Shoaib Bashir to leave on loan
Bashir was fast-tracked into the England Test squad to face India and has taken 12 wickets in two matches.
Conditions in Dharamsala set to aid James Anderson’s bid for 700 Test wickets
India have already wrapped a series victory, leading England 3-1 with one Test to go.
Big hitting and Headingley heroics – Jonny Bairstow’s best Test moments
The Yorkshireman is set to play his 100th Test next week.
Cameron Green leads the way as Australia seize control of Test
Kane Williamson run out in collision as New Zealand left trailing by 204 in first innings.
Matthew Potts targeting England recall after ‘massive step forward’ with Lions
The 25-year-old Durham seamer has taken 23 wickets in six Tests for England.
Cameron Green century defies New Zealand on opening day of series
Matt Henry grabbed four wickets as Australia struggled on testing surface in Wellington.
A look at Parimatch – the most sought after bookmaker in India
Essex wanted to keep anonymity throughout independent review into racist abuse
Sanctions have been handed out after a report found players at the club had been subjected to racist abuse and discriminatory treatment.