Don’t Think Indian Pacers Will be As Effective as Neil Wagner: Matthew Wade on Short-Ball Tactics

New Zealand left-arm pacer Neil Wagner successfully applied the short-ball tactics, exploiting the apparent weakness of the Australian batsmen during their 2019-20 Test series. Even though Australia clean swept the three-match series, Wagner troubled them with his bouncers as he took 17 wickets at 22.76, the second best tally after Nathan Lyon.

The top-three run-getters of the series Marnus Labuschagne, David Warner and Steve Smith repeatedly became his victims but Wade thinks other teams will find it tough to replicate what Wagner was able to achieve.

“Teams may try it but I don’t think it will be as successful,” Wade told cricket.com.au. “I don’t think anyone in the game has bowled bouncers the way he bowled and been so consistent, and not gotten scored off while also picking up wickets.”

India are scheduled to tour Australia in December for a four-match Test series and Wade expects them to take a similar route.  “I think we’ll see it a bit (from India) but I don’t think it will be as effective as Wagner. He’s done it for a long time now … to be honest, I’ve never faced a bowler who is so accurate at bowling bouncers,” Wade said.

One of the highlights of the otherwise one-sided Test series was the battle between Wagner and Wade with the latter copping multiple blows on his body in an effort to neutralise the trap the Kiwi pacer was setting up.

“It was a good contest [with Wagner]. I had a bit of a contest with Jofra [Archer] in the Ashes but he wasn’t as accurate as Wagner, and Wagner’s left arm was coming at funny angles to our guys. Hats off to him, he bowled unbelievably well,” Wade said.