Neil Wagner becomes 2nd ranked Test bowler, Jason Holder slips to number 7

Neil Wagner celebrates a wic

New Zealand’s Neil Wagner has leapfrogged Stuart Broad to become the 2nd highest-ranked bowler in the ICC Test Rankings. Neil Wagner now has a rating of 849. He is behind first-placed Australian quick Pat Cummins by 55 points.

Meanwhile, West Indian Test captain Jason Holder has slipped 2 spots and now sits on number seven behind Kagiso Rabada and Mitchell Starc.

Both Neil Wagner and Holder participated in the 1st Test match of the ongoing West Indies’ tour of the Kiwi nation, and recorded contrasting performances.

Holder took no wicket in his 31 overs, but was the most economical among the West Indian bowlers. On the other hand, Neil Wagner took six wickets in his quota of 28.5 overs to blow off a tenuous batting line-up.

Neil Wagner, 34, is a Test match specialist who is famous for his ability to bowl incessant bouncers. In 2020, he played just one match before the aforementioned clash against West Indies. This came in January against India, and he took 2 wickets in the game.

The left-arm pacer’s 2019 stats are a much better indication of his abilities. In the 6 Test matches that he played, Wagner scalped 43 wickets including four 5-wicket hauls at an average of just 17.81.

To put his achievement in context, only Pat Cummins(59) and Nathan Lyon (45) took more wickets than Wagner, and they played twice the number of Test matches than he did. Stuart Broad, who Wagner passed in the ranking today, took the same number of wickets in five more games.

When other bowlers struggled to get the better of first-ranked Test batsman Steve Smith, Neil Wagner made him his bunny in the Trans-Tasman Trophy.

Wagner got Smith out in both innings of the first two Tests of the 3-match series. And he did that by playing to his own, using accurate, unceasing bouncers.

In a recent interaction before the impending Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Steve Smith was asked about the possibility of Indians imitating a similar bouncer barrage. Smith’s reply is a testament to Neil Wagner’s ability. He had said:

There’s not too many quick bowlers who can run in and bowl bouncers all day, and I guess the way Neil does it is particularly special.”

Neil Wagner and Jason Holder will be back in action on December 11 for the 2nd and final Test of the tour in Wellington.

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