Cricket: Neil Wagner banking on English knowledge to 'hit the ground running' in World Test Championship build-up

Neil Wagner is expecting to hit the ground running as the Blackcaps travel to the UK via Singapore for their upcoming test match tour.

While Wagner has played only two tests on English soil - taking seven wickets at an average of just over 36 back in 2013 - the 35-year-old is one of many of the Blackcaps squad to boast county cricket experience.

Wagner played two seasons for county side Essex, including taking 31 wickets in their title winning County Championship year in 2017.

And Wagner isn't alone in having experience in English conditions under his belt either - with a bulk of the Blackcaps' 20-strong squad all having done the same.

Aside from Wagner, Kane Williamson, Tom Latham, Ross Taylor, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Will Young, Colin de Grandhomme, Doug Bracewell, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, BJ Watling and Matt Henry have all also plied their trade as overseas players in county cricket.

Speaking as the second Blackcaps contingent headed for England on Monday though, Wagner says he's more than confident with his past experience in the UK, despite the lack of test matches played.

"I played in 2013; the other one [2015] I sat on the side watching the boys," Wagner says.

"That was a pretty exciting series, obviously turning into a 1-1 series. The nice thing is that, I guess, those nerves and the unknowns [aren't there].

"I've played Lord's a couple of times now... It's nice to get there and things feel familiar. Sometimes you can get there and get a little bit starstruck of the whole experience. You grow up as a kid wanting to be there and all those sort of things.

"The nice thing is having been there, having played all those grounds, having been round those conditions, it's quite nice to go out there and hit the ground running knowing what you can expect and bits and pieces like that."

With a compact schedule that sees two tests against England before the World Test Championship final against England, the Blackcaps could be forced to rotate their squad in between matches.

In particular, the World Test Championship final against India in Southampton is scheduled to begin only three days after the conclusion of the second test against England in Birmingham.

And Wagner knows that given the short turnarounds and the healthy core of fast bowlers in the New Zealand ranks, his place is far from guaranteed.

"I wouldn't say your place is ever cemented in the team. We've got a great group of players at the moment and a healthy crop of fast bowlers.

"It's a horses for courses thing. If you're called up on - and hopefully the chance comes my way - obviously to [play] to the best of my ability, like I've been doing for a while now for New Zealand.

"Fingers crossed I get the nod, do the job, and we can be successful on the day.

Wagner will also be one of the Blackcaps experiencing quarantine for the first time - having not left New Zealand during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Blackcaps will have to spend three days in quarantine after arriving in England, and Wagner has tried to give himself the best chance of avoiding isolation boredom, revealing he's studying to obtain his real estate license.

"I've done it way less than everyone else, I think I'll be the one trying to ask a few questions.

"I'm doing a bit of study at the moment, so I've got the laptop packed in. I've got the iPad for a bit of Netflix, I've got a putter in there to work on my putting game in the room. I think I'll be doing heaps of that at the same time as well."