Extremely Exciting But Don’t Want to Think Too Far Ahead: Neil Wagner on Facing India in WTC Final

New Zealand left-arm pace bowler Neil Wagner said the World Test Championship (WTC) final against India at Southampton from June 18 would be “special”, but he wouldn’t want to let the occasion get to him.

“I know this (WTC) final is the first and there isn’t a lot of history around it, but it’s the start of something that’s pretty big. To play in a one-off Test final against India — one of the best teams in the world, if not the best team in the world — to be able to test yourself against the best on the highest and biggest stage, that’s what it’s about.

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“It’s extremely exciting, but I don’t want to think too far ahead. Don’t want to let the occasion get to you, just treat it like another Test match and do the same things you do. It’s definitely going to be a special occasion. That’s for sure,” Wagner, who has played 51 Tests for New Zealand, was told saying.

The 35-year-old South Africa-born player also said on Sunday that his biggest disappointment was not being able to “crack into the T20 or the one-day game” for New Zealand, though he has been a part of several successful Test campaigns for the Black Caps.

Wagner, well-known for his heroics in the 2016 Christchurch Test against Australia, where he bowled with a broken knuckle on the ring finger to bag a career-best figures of 6/106, said that having not played in any ODI or T20 World Cup, made the WTC final a “World Cup final for me”.

“It is like a World Cup final for me. The biggest disappointment, I guess, in my career is that I’ve never really played a white-ball game for New Zealand or never been able to crack into the T20 or the one-day game. That ship has probably sailed now and I don’t think the opportunity will ever come.

“For me now, it’s about putting all my focus and energy into Test cricket and to be able to play in a World Test Championship final is like a World Cup for me,” he added.

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