Essex aim to bring Wagner as Amir's replacement



Neil Wagner made an excellent impression in his early season stint and is well liked in Essex’s dressing room © Getty

Essex hope to bring New Zealand fast bowler Neil Wagner back for the end of the county season to replace Mohammad Amir, who has to return to Pakistan for a series against a World XI.

The Pakistan Cricket Board announced on Friday (August 11) that centrally contracted players would have to report for a fitness test at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore on August 22, ahead of the three-match T20I series which has been brought forward to mid-September. It had been expected that the World XI matches would take place towards the end of the month.

That means Amir, who took ten wickets against Yorkshire in Essex’s last County Championship match, would play just three more NatWest T20 Blast matches before heading home. Cricbuzz understands that Essex have made representations to the PCB about Amir remaining with the county but these discussions are ongoing.

Wagner, who played seven Championship games for Essex at the start of the season, is keen to return to the county and will be brought over once the situation with Amir is finalised. A fellow left-armer, Wagner, made an excellent impression in his early season stint and is well liked in Essex’s dressing room.

Should an extension be granted for Amir, he may be able to play Essex’s next two Championship matches against Somerset, beginning on August 28, and Lancashire, starting September 5, before heading back to Pakistan for the series against the World XI.

Were the PCB to refuse Essex’s request, it would be a blow to the Championship leaders. Essex’s players have been hugely impressed with Amir’s class and attitude since his arrival and he would be a key weapon for captain Ryan ten Doeschate as Essex look to win their first Championship title since 1992. They are currently 41 points clear at the top of the table with five games remaining.

© Cricbuzz

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