Wagner one of almanack’s players of year

Neil Wagner
Neil Wagner
Otago and Black Caps left-armer Neil Wagner has been named as one of the New Zealand Cricket Almanack’s  two players of the year.

The 31-year-old featured alongside Kane Williamson following a "magnificent year" in first-class cricket.

"In 13 tests during the past 12 months he took 56 wickets, well ahead of Trent Boult (43) who was New Zealand’s next most successful bowler," the publication stated.

Wagner climbed from 22nd-equal to eighth-equal on the list of New Zealand’s leading wicket-takers. He has 130 wickets — the same as Lance Cairns — at an average of 28.90.

Of the seven players ahead of Wagner, only Sir Richard Hadlee (431 wickets at 22.29) and Boult (190 wickets at 28.75) have a better average.

The highlights were his six for 41 against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo in July and his five-wicket haul against South Africa at Centurion the following month.

His willingness to bend his back with the old ball makes Wagner an invaluable member of the attack, and he has seemingly slipped ahead of Tim Southee in the pecking order.

Wagner played just two first-class games for Otago but picked up 14 wickets.

Williamson was named one of the players of the year for a second year running.

He scored 1079 runs in 13 tests during the qualification period, notching centuries against Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and two against South Africa in the three-match home series.

He is level with Martin Crowe at the top of New Zealand’s most prolific hundred-makers with 17 centuries.

Williamson was also New Zealand’s leading one-day scorer with 939 runs in 21 games.

Wellington’s Tom Blundell, Auckland Glenn Phillips and Northern Districts Tim Seifert were named as promising players following good domestic seasons.

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