Blackcaps v Australia: Accusations of Neil Wagner's 'forced' retirement take gloss off Kane Williamson, Tim Southee milestones

Two days out from his 100th test match, Blackcaps batting wiz Kane Williamson is meant to be celebrating in the magic milestone.

Instead, he finds himself downplaying comments from former captain and teammate Ross Taylor, claiming Neil Wagner's retirement was forced and hinting their may be unrest in the camp.

Williamson is preparing for a milestone only four other Blackcaps have reached. He and captain Tim Southee will both play their 100th tests for New Zealand against Australia at Christchurch's Hagley Oval, starting Friday.

Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson in action for the Blackcaps.
Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson in action for the Blackcaps. Photo credit: Photosport

"We've been on a bit of a journey together, even before international cricket, going through age groups together, so quite special to be sharing it with him," he said.

That isn't the main topic of conversation, with Williamson quizzed about Taylor's comments on ESPN podcast Around the Wicket Taylor was asked about Neil Wagner's 'shooshing' reaction during his final test and then later, when he seemed to raise his middle finger at Southee, suggesting all was not well.

"I think it all makes sense a little bit now," said Taylor. "There's no sugarcoating, I think it's a forced retirement.

"If you listen to Wagner's press conference, he was retiring, but it was after this last test match, so he did make himself available."

Williamson is downplaying the suggestion.

"No, I don't think anyone is forced to retire," he insisted. 

As for the heated-looking conversation between Wagner and Southee that followed, and that photo...

"No, those guys are great mates and will continue to be," said Williamson. "That was banter.

"Obviously, out of context, it doesn't look great, but it was a little bit humorous at the time."

Whether forced or not, Wagner's time with the Blackcaps is over and Ben Sears, 22, is now preparing for a possible test debut.

Neil Wagner shooshes his critics after taking a South African wicket.
Neil Wagner shooshes his critics after taking a South African wicket. Photo credit: Getty Images

"You do need to plan for the future, but a one-off test against Australia in a must-win situation, I wouldn't be looking much further than Neil Wagner and I'm sure the Aussie batters are sleeping easy," said Taylor 

Funnily enough, the Australians agree. 

"Ah, I'm not too worried about having to face his bouncers anymore," echoed captain Pat Cummins.

The Blackcaps now hopes to turn their attention to short-pitched stuff from the Aussies, rather than their former captain.

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