England v New Zealand: We will try to win it with words, says Neil Wagner

Kiwi paceman reveals secrets of his sledging at the England batsmen ahead of second Test

England's fragile batting order can expect an old-fashioned reception committee in Leeds this week. That is to say they will be sledged up hill and down dale.

There will be a barrage of invective, insults and possibly innuendo from New Zealand. The way that Neil Wagner, the tourists' left-arm swing bowler, described it, it sounds like huge fun – and if they should manage to get under England's skin before the Ashes then so be it.

In a candid assessment of his team's intentions Wagner outlined his approach to each of the opposition batsmen in the second Test starting at Headingley on Friday. He will not be trying out many one-liners.

"I think it's more about getting into a guy's face," he said. "It's about irritating them, make 'em really angry, make 'em look at you and think, 'I really do want to hit this guy for four'. You have just got to get them to the point where they really hate you. When you get to that point, you sometimes make them think about something else in a split second of concentration-lapse that could give you a wicket."

Wagner revealed that he had already had a few spats with England's No 3 batsman, Jonathan Trott, who like him was born in South Africa. But it seems the only batsmen who can expect a quiet time of it are Alastair Cook, who is so unresponsive to sledging that they have ceased to bother, and Ian Bell, who has stunned them into silence by politeness.

"It's just a spur-of-the-moment thing as soon as you can see a little battle and take it on," said Wagner. "I think there was an occasion in the previous Test where myself and Trott had one. He is one of those guys who is quite focused.

"I thought I would have a little bit of a crack and it might unsettle him, maybe get him driving a couple of times.

"It didn't really work out on that day but it did in Eden Park in Auckland. We tried to get him driving and he did and played at one and nicked one."

With New Zealand anxious to recover from their mauling on the fourth day at Lord's, when they were bowled out for 68 and lost, by 170 runs, a match in which they were ahead for much of the time, they suspect they may be helped by the Ashes.

Although England have reinforced their ban on talk of the series against Australia, the present tourists think it will be playing on some minds. England might not be speaking about it but everybody else is.

Wagner said: "We couldn't care less about the Ashes, to be honest. We're not looking at it at all, for us it is about trying to get a win away. But it is something we can pick on, but for them, they will focus on trying to win the series and taking that confidence into the Ashes.

"If you get them two or three down quickly, we can definitely put the squeeze on them. But they've still got a couple of match-winning performers, so that's something to be aware of and not get too far ahead of ourselves."

England may be difficult to upset since, as Wagner conceded, they displayed infinite patience at Lord's "and gave us nothing". But he was sure that both Nick Compton and Jonny Bairstow would be nervous and that Bairstow, like Joe Root, might be affected by the desire to do well on his home ground.

"You've got to be careful," Wagner said. "With Compton, when we tried to get under his skin a bit, he played quite well and ended up scoring a hundred at Wellington. Some players thrive on something like that, other players tend to be more nervous. There's a fine line. Some players, you let them be and they're more nervous because they're waiting for something to happen."

Wagner said that he was probably the most chirpy of the New Zealanders, though his fellow paceman Tim Southee was also partial to a word or two. But he admitted that with Cook and Bell it would be different.

"Cooky is just one of those guys that the more you try and talk to him, the better he is going to play. He is one of those guys where it is not going to work. You just have to let him be.

"I have a lot of respect for Ian Bell and he always gives you a little bit of a nod when you give him a good one or is always happy to tell you, 'well bowled'," Wagner added. "You can't help but give him a bit of a smile. When he hits you for four, you nod back and say, 'well played'."

And what of the absent Kevin Pietersen. Perhaps a text message? "Most definitely," said Wagner.

Wagner's tips: How England react to sledging

Alastair Cook

Not sledged because the England captain simply does not respond, or else he will play even better. But Wagner suggested that overconfidence could sometimes be his downfall.

Nick Compton

Wagner pointed out that he played "a rash shot out of nowhere" at Lord's and was still looking to find his feet in Test cricket, so the Kiwis could thrive on that.

Jonathan Trott

Prone to a word or two himself when fielding, and the Kiwis will repay him in kind, hoping he plays a false shot.

Ian Bell

Silence is the best policy but Wagner said: "I have had a couple of occasions when he has driven me through the covers – then you do give him a little bit of a stare or glare."

Joe Root

Young, top-class performer but appearing on his home ground might play on his mind. "We'll definitely have a couple of words and try to get underneath his skin a bit."

Jonny Bairstow

One of those who looks a bit nervous at the moment and therefore he would be the subject of a word or two to try to unsettle him. Will also be playing on home turf at Headingley.

Matt Prior

Always ready to swap banter with opponents and Wagner, going out to bat at Lord's, said he knew what was coming when Prior smiled. Prior himself will not be spared after his Lord's pair.

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?