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Friday, June 25, 2021

New Zealand won’t treat England Tests as warm-ups for WTC final: Neil Wagner

India and New Zealand will lock horns for the inaugural WTC title, at Southampton's Ageas Bowl, from June 18-22, four days after the Test series against hosts England is scheduled to conclude.

By: PTI | Auckland |
Updated: May 17, 2021 4:20:20 pm
New Zealand's Neil Wagner (L) in action during a Test against Pakistan. (AP)

New Zealand fast bowler Neil Wagner on Monday said his team is not going to treat the upcoming two-match series against England as warm-ups for the World Test Championship (WTC) final versus India.

India and New Zealand will lock horns for the inaugural WTC title, at Southampton’s Ageas Bowl, from June 18-22, four days after the Test series against hosts England is scheduled to conclude.

“We’re not going to treat these two Test matches against England just as warm-ups (for the WTC final),” Wagner told reporters at the Auckland airport before his departure.

“I know for a fact we’re going to get out there and pride ourselves the way we’ve been playing Test cricket and we want to win Test matches for New Zealand,” he added.

A majority of the New Zealand Test players arrived here on Monday for the two-match series against England and the WTC final against India, but Wagner was part of the second batch of cricketers to leave for their UK tour.

Wagner, ranked number three in the world among Test bowlers, trained with the Dukes ball in Lincoln before departing for England. Dukes ball is used for Test matches in England.

He said he benefited from the camp.

“It’s been quite nice, it’s obviously got different characteristics to the Kookaburra,” Wagner said.

“The way we’ve been training for the last while is something we didn’t always have in the past, having the facilities and having a marquee up and getting a number of training sessions in before going to England.

“On tours in the past you rock up there and you’ve only got a couple of training sessions and maybe one head out with the Dukes ball before the first Test and with that you can find yourself a little bit behind.”

He added, “Having had those little bit of trainings leading into it has been quite beneficial, just because it’s a little bit different, and obviously adapting to it. It’s been really good preparation and everybody is excited bowling with it.”

This will be Wagner’s third trip to England as part of the New Zealand squad, although he played there only during the 2013 Test series, besides playing in the County Championship for Lancashire.

“Sometimes you have to control all that because there’s a high expectation of the ball doing a lot and moving around but sometimes you can get there and it can be quite flat and slow as well,” Wagner said.

“The nice thing about it is we’ve got a wealth of experience and the guys have been there before so we can feed off each other and bounce ideas off each other as well,” he added.

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