New Zealand wicketkeeper BJ Watling has announced he will retire from all cricket following next month’s World Test Championship final against India in England.
The 35-year-old will call time on a career of 73 Tests and 28 ODIs following a two-match Test series against England and the inaugural WTC final at Hampshire’s Southampton headquarters.
‘The time is right,’ said Watling in a New Zealand cricket statement issued Wednesday.
‘It’s been a huge honour to represent New Zealand and in particular wear the Test baggy.’
South African-born Watling, who moved to New Zealand as a 10-year-old, has taken 259 catches and completed eight stumpings in Tests, as well as being an effective batsman with 3,773 runs at an average of over 38, including eight hundreds, in the five-day game.
But Watling, who recently became a father for the second time, said bowing out next month was the correct decision.
‘It’s the right time,’ he said. ‘It’s been a huge honour to represent New Zealand and in particular wear the Test baggy [cap].
‘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.
He added: ‘Sitting in the changing rooms having a beer with the team after five days’ toil is what I’ll miss the most.’
Watling, looking ahead to the Blackcaps trip to Britain, said: ‘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.’