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Wagner in doubt for South African Tests

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 2/02/2017

A finger injury is threatening the involvement of strike bowler Neil Wagner in New Zealand's home Test series against South Africa in March.

Wagner fractured his left ring finger when fielding a ball off his own bowling during a domestic one-day match for Otago against Auckland in Invercargill on Wednesday. He went on to complete his 10 overs.

The 30-year-old's recovery time of four to six weeks places him in doubt to face his country of birth.

The first of three Tests starts in Dunedin on March 8.

Black Caps coach Mike Hesson says every effort will be made to get the invaluable Wagner on the field for the biggest and last series of the home summer.

"We'll be in a position to make a better judgment on that in the next couple of weeks," Hesson said.

"Neil's an important member of our Test side and he is obviously desperate to play in such a big series, so we'll do everything we can to get him back on the park as soon as possible."

Wagner's value has come to the fore of the last two seasons, with the left-armer proving to be the perfect foil for new ball pair Tim Southee and Trent Boult.

His high work rate takes the load off others while a relentless short-pitched approach has proved effective.

He has taken 118 Test scalps, including 35 scalps in his last seven home matches.

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