Forget about the mammoth workload of bowling with two fractured toes, fear of needles may have been the biggest obstacle the Black Caps hero had to overcome against Pakistan.
New Zealand bowling coach Shane Jurgensen provided more information on Wagner’s Herculean effort on first attempt at Mt Maunganui, who played a central role in the home side’s thrilling victory which provisionally placed them at the top of the world rankings.
After breaking a few bones batting in the opening innings, Wagner defied expectations by winning a combined 49 overs, including an 11-straight marathon in the crucial final session, to finish with game numbers of 4-105.
He was helped with painkiller injections to pass the competition, but Jurgensen revealed it wasn’t a straightforward process for the 34-year-old.
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“I don’t think he’s a fan of needles,” Jurgensen told Newstalk ZB.
“So every time he had to give himself an injection to kill the pain, you could hear him scream.”
The Black Caps are expected to announce later on Thursday whether Wagner will be available for the second test in Christchurch, which begins on Sunday, although Jurgensen was hoping to avoid surgery.
Matt Henry is the main contender to join the squad if Wagner is left out.
But whatever its status, the South African sailor’s lion-hearted display will be remembered for a long time.
“He was in a lot of pain and he would go off and inject himself and numb his foot and we would try to use it when the injection was taking effect – it was kind of unique for all of us,” said Black Caps captain Kane. Williamson. said after the game.
“His appetite and motivation to be out there and try to make a difference for the team is huge and we haven’t seen him greater than the effort he put in during this test match.
“It impacted his ability to operate at 100%, but he still came and got the breakthrough like he so often does for us when he’s at full power.
“It was a very, very special effort from Wags, an effort that the team appreciated. We needed him there and he delivered.”