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O'Rourke expected to play ahead of Wagner in second Test

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Last updated on 12 Feb 2024 | 07:55 AM
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O'Rourke expected to play ahead of Wagner in second Test

The Black Caps went with just three seamers in the first Test, but with Daryl Mitchell ruled out, the hosts could bring in one of O'Rourke or Wagner

Tim Southee indicated that William O'Rourke could make his debut on Tuesday (February 13) during the second Test between New Zealand and South Africa in Hamilton. The Black Caps went with just three seamers in the first Test, but with Daryl Mitchell ruled out, the hosts could bring in one of O'Rourke or Neil Wagner.

“He's in the 13. Neil's been around the group as well and been a great performer for us for a long period of time. It's great to have those decisions to be made. Will's an exciting talent and has had a little taste of international cricket, and I'm sure he has a bright future in the highest level as well,” Southee spoke of O'Rourke, who has played three ODIs for NZ.

Speaking more about O'Rourke, Southee said: "His strengths are obviously his height and ability to extract bounce. Being a big, tall guy he's not too dissimilar to KJ (Kyle Jamieson). He's got skills with the ball as well. He's got the tools to be a very good bowler and someone who I'm sure will thrive at this level.

"Will's probably played a bit more cricket than I had. He's got a great head on his shoulders. He's a pretty mature guy from what I've seen of him. He's had a little taste already, so he knows what to expect, but you just enjoy it and stick to what you've done that's got you here."

Meanwhile, Wagner hasn’t played a Test for New Zealand for more than 11 months. "It's not just Neil, it's any guy who misses out, it's not a nice place to be," Southee said. 

"You want to be out there, representing your country, but the reality is it's professional sport, and there's only 11 guys that can go out and play the game. Usually, Gary (Stead) will break the news and then I'll follow up with a bit of chat as well. It's not the nicest part of the job, but the guys are pretty understanding."

Southee also confirmed that Will Young will be replacing Mitchell in the XI. Young has featured in 13 Tests, scoring 582 runs at an average of 26.45. “We will have another look tomorrow, but with Daryl Mitchell not being here, Will Young will slip into the middle order. 

“We'll decide on the final make-up of the bowling attack in the morning, after one final look at the wicket. You look at the balance you need across the five days and make a decision according to that."

New Zealand won the first Test by 281 runs and are leading the two-match series 1-0.

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