New Zealand wicketkeeper BJ Watling has announced that he will retire from all forms of cricket after the World Test Championship (WTC) final against India in June. The wicketkeeper-batsman will finish as New Zealand’s record-holder for Test wicketkeeping dismissals (257*) and catches (249*).
A decorated career in Test cricket
Watling has represented New Zealand in 73 Tests and also appeared in 28 ODIs and 5 T20Is in 11 years long career.
Talking about his contribution as a batsman, the 35-year-old has scored 3773 Test runs at an average of 38.11 with eight centuries and 19 half-centuries. His highest Test score of 205 came against England at Mount Maunganui in November 2019.
“It’s the right time,” said Watling.
“It’s been a huge honour to represent New Zealand and in particular wear the Test baggy. Test cricket really is the pinnacle of the game, and I’ve loved every minute of being out there in the whites with the boys.
“Sitting in the changing rooms having a beer with the team after five days’ toil is what I’ll miss the most.
“I’ve played with some great players and made many good mates. I’ve also had plenty of help along the way, for which I’ll always be grateful.”
Watling further talked about his final tour to England and admitted that the tour will be a challenge for the team and they will need to be at their best to win the series.
“This tour will be a challenge on a few levels and we know as a team we will need to be at the very top of our game if we want to succeed.”
BJ turned games around: NZC chief executive David White
New Zealand Cricket (NZC) chief executive David White said Watling would be remembered for his courage and determination he brought to the game when team needed the most.
“BJ turned games around. I can’t think of another player who reacted so positively, and who was successful in the face of adversity.
“His ability to wring every possible run out of the tail was unmatched – his work behind the stumps tireless and efficient.
“He has a quiet, unassuming, and undemonstrative manner that belies the huge appetite he has for the contest and the challenge.