'Just a good human being'

Rob Walter.
Rob Walter.
Neil Wagner's decision to move north and play for Northern Districts this summer will leave more than a gap in just the wickets' column.

The Black Caps left-armer has been a faithful servant for Otago cricket since moving to the region in 2008 to chase his dream of playing international cricket.

The Volts gave him the platform to demonstrate his skill and he paid the team back with wickets - and lots of them.

But his contribution off the park was arguably just as significant.

While everybody is well aware how much value he adds at the bowling crease, he is a real softie around children and a good bloke, Otago Cricket Association chief executive Mike Coggan said.

''He is one of the bubbliest guys and takes every opportunity to get to know people,'' Coggan said.

''I'll never forget when a team from Menzies College came in and he had brought a massive box in he got from the Warehouse and gave every item away. That was just his nature.

''He gave his entire New Zealand and Otago kit away that year. It was just an unbelievable experience for those kids.

''He just made every effort to make young kids feel special and we will miss that.

''He owes us absolutely nothing. He has given so many special moments to so many people.''

Volts coach Rob Walter, who now has the difficult task of finding a replacement, agreed Wagner was a much different character from the combative player seen chipping away at batsman and bowling bouncer after bouncer.

''He is just a good human being,'' Walter said.

''He understands the value that his profile can contribute to our community.

''And he does not shirk the responsibility of what it means to be a leader and a role model.

''He is a guy who gives of his time, is highly respectful of the media, of the supporters, and never turns his back on the young guy asking for a signature.''

''Fortunately for New Zealand, he is going to be doing all that somewhere else and the country will still be benefiting.''

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