BJ Watling to retire after WTC final
New Zealand wicket-keeper batter BJ Watling has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket after the end of England tour.
Born in South Africa, Watling moved to New Zealand as a ten-year-old. Now, 35, he has represented New Zealand in 73 Tests, 28 ODIs and 5 T20Is.
The upcoming tour of England in June, that includes two Tests against the hosts and the World Test Championship final against India, will be the last of Watling’s career.
“It’s the right time,” Watling said on announcing his retirement. “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.”
“I’m certainly looking forward to being able to spend more time with [Jess] 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.”
Watling has 3773 runs including eight hundreds and 19 fifties in 73 Test matches (114 innings), with a high score of 205 against England in 2019. He has also affected 259 catches and 8 stumpings.
He holds the world record for scoring a hundred and affect five dismissals in an innings in the same Test three times. Only Matt Prior and Jonny Bairstow could do it twice.
If Watling keeps wickets all three Tests in England, he will surpass Adam Parore (67) to become the man with most Tests as New Zealand wicket-keeper.