BJ Watling announces retirement from all forms of cricket after ICC WTC Final

Watling announces retirement from all forms of cricket after ICC WTC Final. Th match is scheduled to take place at Southampton from June 18.
Watling announces retirement from all forms of cricket after ICC WTC Final. Th match is scheduled to take place at Southampton from June 18.

BJ Watling announces retirement from all forms of cricket after ICC WTC Final- New Zealand batsman BJ Watling has said that he will retire from all cricket after the World Test Championship final. “The curtain is set to come down on the career of one of New Zealand’s most widely respected cricketers, with wicket-keeper @B_Jwatling  to retire from all cricket after the upcoming Test tour of England,” Blackcaps said in a tweet post.

The 35-year-old has been a stalwart of the Test side since debuting in 2009 as an opening batsman, going on to establish himself as a world-class keeper-batsman and claiming numerous records in his 73 Tests to date.

With the BLACKCAPS contracts for the 2021-22 season due to be released on Friday, in which Watling will not be included due to his future unavailability, his retirement news has been expedited.

The Northern Districts gloveman had been pondering his options for a while, but settled on his decision to retire at the end of the just completed home summer.

“It’s the right time,” said Watling, who has recently become a father for the second 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.

“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.

“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.”

BJ Watling announces retirement from all forms of cricket after ICC WTC Final

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Watling holds the New Zealand Test dismissals record with 249 catches (excluding 10 as a fielder) and eight stumpings – the best numbers of any current Test keepers.

His bowler-keeper catching combinations with Tim Southee (73), Trent Boult (55) and Neil Wagner (53) occupy the top three spots on the New Zealand record list.

Watling’s batting statistics are equally eye catching: with eight Test centuries to his name and New Zealand records for the fourth and fifth highest partnerships: 362 with Brendon McCullum against India at the Basin Reserve in 2014, and 365* with current captain Kane Williamson against Sri Lanka at the same ground a year later.

He is just the ninth Test keeper to score a double hundred and was the first to do so against England, when his Player of the Match performance helped win a dramatic Test against England at Bay Oval in November 2019. He also featured in another New Zealand record-partnership in that match as he and Mitchell Santner put on 261 for the seventh wicket.

NZC chief executive David White said Watling would be remembered for the tremendous courage and determination he brought to the game, and especially when the chips were down.

“BJ turned games around,” he said. “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.

“BJ’s been a huge part of the success of the current BLACKCAPS team and on behalf of NZC, I want to wish him well for the upcoming Tests in England and life after cricket.”

BJ Watling announces retirement from all forms of cricket after ICC WTC Final

BLACKCAPS coach Gary Stead paid homage to his side’s Mr Dependable behind the stumps.

“BJ is a wonderful player and a great bloke,” Stead said.

“He works really hard on his game to get improvements and always puts the team first.

“You just have to look at the respect he’s held in by his teammates and the opposition to appreciate his standing in the game.

“The records speak for themselves and he’s been such a crucial cog in the Test team’s rise over the past decade.

“That double hundred he scored at the Mount in 2019 was one of the best innings I’ve ever seen and epitomised BJ Watling as a player, really.

“The attitude and fight he brings to every day and every session of a Test is what has made him such a valued member of the BLACKCAPS.

“He is without a doubt one of our best ever wicket-keeper batsmen.”

If Watling plays all three Tests on the upcoming tour, two against England (June 2-6 and 10-14) and the ICC World Test Championship Final against India on June 18-22, he will surpass Adam Parore’s record of most Tests as a New Zealand keeper at 67.

Watling played his entire domestic career for Northern Districts featuring in 91 First-Class matches, 62 T20 games and 90 List A fixtures for the Major Association.

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