'Unique' Neil Wagner's style suited perfectly for Test match cricket - Mike Hesson

  • 07/12/2017
Neil Wagner, Blackcaps, West Indies
Neil Wagner took 7/39 in the first innings against the West Indies in Wellington Photo credit: Getty

Neil Wagner's "unique" Test cricket prowess has been hailed by coach Mike Hesson ahead of what shapes up as his last Black Caps appearance for more than three months.

Hesson is hopeful the man of the match in the first Test demolition of the West Indies in Wellington can be just as destructive in the second starting in Hamilton on Saturday.

Having never played a limited-overs international, the left-arm seamer's exertions at Seddon Park will almost certainly be his last until the two-Test home series against England from mid-March.

The 31-year-old bagged career-best figures of 7-39 (innings) and 9-141 (match) at the Basin Reserve.

Once again it was based around a short-pitched approach, something Hesson says requires more skill and ability than some critics realise.

"There are a lot of players out there who are as fit as Neil," Hesson said.

"He has a lot of heart in terms of being able to sustain that barrage of short- pitched bowling.

Blackcaps coach Mike Hesson is full of praise for the Otago fast-bowler
Blackcaps coach Mike Hesson is full of praise for the Otago fast-bowler Photo credit: Getty

"What he does, some other guys can do for maybe an over or two. He's unique because he can bowl a whole spell and at times an extended one."

Wagner is set to climb higher than his current ranking of ninth among Test bowlers. He is rated fifth among seamers.

As well as consistent success at Test level, Wagner has excelled on the first- class scene.

A three-month stint with Essex helped propel them to the English county first division title.

He was then highly effective in four first-class appearances with Otago before his bristling performance against the West Indies on an unhelpful surface.

"He's a competitor. The thing that we like is that when the game's hard, that's when he's at his best," Hesson said.

"Neil also can swing the new ball if conditions suit.

"But he tends to get it when it's a bit old and crusty and generally bowls into the wind. He does the hard stuff and he loves it."

NZN