Win or lose, BJ going out on high

BJ Watling. Photo: Reuters
BJ Watling. Photo: Reuters
Just 1000 or so more squats to go for BJ Watling.

The veteran Black Caps gloveman announced he will retire from cricket after the World Test Championship final against India beginning in Southampton tonight.

The 35-year-old right-hander would love to end his career as a champion. But whether New Zealand wins or not, Watling said the season had been terrific and the chance to play in the inaugural WTC final was incredible.

"All the lads are pretty excited. Obviously it is a massive opportunity to win a title," he said.

"But I think what we’ve been doing leading into this — winning the games at home this summer and winning a fantastic test series against England — has certainly been fantastic."

It has been a terrific career as well. In 11 years at the top level, Watling has played more than 100 internationals for his country — 74 of them tests.

He has claimed 260 test dismissals — a record for New Zealand and 59 more than his nearest rival.

He has also scored 3789 runs, including eight centuries.

The format for the final will give New Zealand cricket fans some comfort. If the match is a draw or a rare tie, the title will be shared — so no boundary countback or something equally absurd.

There is an extra day available which is a relief as well, as the forecast is not particularly favourable.

The fact a draw is kind of like a win will not change how the Black Caps approach the game, Watling said.

"We are going to go into this game pretty much as we do every other test."

Watling skipped the second test against England due to a back complaint. But he has taken a full part in training and is confident of his fitness ahead of the final.

He is unsure whether he will feel any extra emotion during the match.

Watling will not have any family in the crowd thanks to Covid-19 but he will have his team-mates.

"We’ve got a great group here and it has been an enjoyable month together, so I’ll look forward to the next eight or so days and what might be a pretty exciting time."


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