Kane Williamson blown away by Neil Wagner effort

Neil Wagner

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson has dubbed the performance of Neil Wagner in the first Test against Pakistan a “very special effort” after the seamer bowled 49 overs with two broken toes.

Wagner would not quit

Wagner chipped in with four wickets across the two innings and Williamson, who has played in most of the Tests Wagner has been involved in, claimed he has never seen the bowler put in a bigger shift.

It was known throughout the match that Wagner had a couple of broken toes but he waved off questions after the third day’s play, suggesting he would need to be forced off the field before he quit.

“People talk about the size of his heart in terms of what he does on the cricket field, but to have a couple of broken toes, and he was in a lot of pain – I want to be careful here because he’s probably going to listen to this (laughs) – but he was in a lot of pain,” Williamson said after the match.

“He was going off and getting injections and numbing his foot. We tried to use him when the injection was taking effect. It was kind of unique for all of us.

Williamson admires motivation

“His appetite and motivation to be out there and try and make a difference for the team is huge. I think we haven’t seen any bigger than the effort he put in across this Test match with a couple of broken toes.

“He just kept running in, and obviously it had an impact on his ability to operate at 100% but he still came in and got the breakthrough like he does for us so often when he’s at full strength. A very, very special effort from Wags, one that the team appreciated. We needed him out there, and he delivered.”

The Black Caps went on to win the match comfortably and move top of the ICC Test Cricket rankings.