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England Tests not warm-ups for WTC final: New Zealand pacer Neil Wagner

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New Zealand will take on India in the World Test Championship final but they will not be treating the preceding two-Test series against England as ‘warm-ups’, Kiwi pacer Neil Wagner has said.

“We're not going to treat these two Test matches against England just as warm-ups," Wagner said. "I know for a fact we're going to get out there and pride ourselves the way we've been playing Test cricket and we want to win Test matches for New Zealand.”

Wagner practised with the Dukes ball in training camps in Lincoln, near Christchurch, before leaving for the UK. The Dukes is used in England as opposed to the Kookaburra in New Zealand and Wagner said it was good to be able to try and get used to the different ball instead of rushing into a tour under-prepared like in the past.

“It's been quite nice, it's obviously got different characteristics to the Kookaburra," the No 3-ranked Test bowler said. "The way we've been training for the last while is something we didn't always have in the past, having the facilities and having a marquee up and getting a number of trainings in before going to England.

“On tours in the past you rock up there and you've only got a couple of trainings and maybe one head-out with the Dukes ball before the first Test and with that you can find yourself a little bit behind.

"But having had those little bit of trainings leading into it has been quite beneficial, just because it's (Dukes) a little bit different, and obviously adapting to it. It's been really good preparation and everybody is excited bowling with it.”

At the same time, Wagner cautioned against getting too excited with the different ball and conditions. “Sometimes you have to control all that because there's a high expectation of the ball doing a lot and moving around but sometimes you can get there and it can be quite flat and slow as well.”

Wagner will soon be joining some of his teammates who are already in England, while those who played in the Indian T20 League are also on their way there.

Featured photo: AFP / Michael Bradley

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