Blackcaps‘ most successful test wicketkeeper BJ Watling will retire from all forms of cricket after their upcoming tour of England, the New Zealand Cricket (NZC) said in a statement on Wednesday.
The 35-year-old has been an integral part of New Zealand’s Test team since debuting in 2009, and holds the Black Caps’ record for test dismissals with 249 catches (excluding 10 as a fielder) and eight stumpings.
Watling, who also represented New Zealand in 28 One-Day Internationals and five T20Is, said the time had come to hang up his gloves as he looks forward to spending more time with his family.
“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,” Watling said in a statement.
“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. 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,” he added.
In 73 Tests so far, BJ Watling has scored 3,773 runs with at 38.11, including eight hundreds and 19 half-centuries and a highest score of 205 coming against England at Mt Maunganui in 2019.
The team set to play two tests against England beginning June 2 followed by the ICC World Test Championship Final against India from June 18-22. Blackcaps coach Gary Stead paid tribute to Watling, saying that his grit and determination helped him forge a career as one of the country’s finest glovemen.
“The records speak for themselves and he’s been such a crucial cog in the test team’s rise over the past decade. 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 Black Caps,” said Stead.