One of New Zealand’s best wicket-keeper batsmen, BJ Watling has decided to hang up his gloves after the upcoming tour of England. He will now have three more Tests to play with two against England and the final one being the all-important World Test Championship (WTC) final against India in Southampton. Watling would want to end his illustrious Test career on a high with a trophy.
The 35-year-old Watling made his debut in 2009 as an opener and since then made a name for himself as an assured wicket-keeper and a reliable batsman in the middle-order. New Zealand Cricket are set to release the list of players contracted for the 2021-22 season this week and hence, Watling has decided to announce his decision just before the same is out so that he doesn’t get picked.
Watling holds plenty of records to his name and is one of three wicket-keepers with 250 dismissals as well as a double-century in Test cricket. Further, only Adam Gilchrist and Matt Prior have scored more runs at a higher average than Watling among all wicket-keepers in the 21st century.
BJ Watling speaks on decision to hang up his gloves
BJ Watling spoke to New Zealand Cricket about his decision to retire and stated that he felt ‘it was the right time’. “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,” BJ Watling said.
Thanking the important people in his career and life, he said, “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. My wife Jess has been a constant source of stability and support and I’m certainly looking forward to being able to spend more time with her and the kids. I also owe a big thanks to my mum for steering me in the right direction early on and always being there for me.”
Speaking about the upcoming tour of England, “Although I’ve had to make this announcement ahead of the tour to England, my focus is very much on the three Tests ahead and preparing to perform in them. 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,” Watling signed off.