BJ Watling is one of the top wicket-keeper batsmen in Test cricket at the moment. Born in Durban, South Africa, BJ Watling moved to New Zealand with his family when he was 10 years old. He was a part of the New Zealand Under-19 side back in 2003-04 and was pretty impressive.
New Zealand, Durham, Northern Districts, New Zealand A, New Zealand Under-19, New Zealand XI
Batting Career Summary
205 v ENG
96* v SL
22 v PAK
53 v LIO
He made his first-class debut in 2004 for the Northern Districts and in 2006-07, Watling ended up as the second-highest run-getter in the season. Some consistent performances for a couple of years ensured Watling got a place in the New Zealand side across all three formats against Pakistan. While he didn’t make his ODI debut, Watling managed to find a place in the T20I and Test XIs in that series.
For a few years, Watling was inconsistent and was in and out of the side. However, since 2013, Watling has been New Zealand’s first-choice wicket-keeper in the Test format. He hasn’t really lived up to the billing in the white-ball formats.
It was in December 2009 that Watling first got an opportunity in the longest format. New Zealand faced Pakistan in a three-match Test series and in the third Test, Watling got an opportunity at the expense of Peter Fulton in the series decider. He batted at the top of the order and scored 60 in the second innings in his debut game. However, Watling was constantly in and out of the side and it was only in 2013 that he started getting more opportunities and that too as a designated wicket-keeper.
In 2013, the South African-born scored 596 runs at an average of 39.73, including five half-centuries and a hundred. Since then, he has been New Zealand’s premier wicket-keeper batsman in Test cricket. Barring 2020 where he has played only three Test matches, Watling averaged more than 30 in each of the calendar years since 2013. Moreover, at the moment, he is one of the world’s best wicket-keeper batsmen in the longest format.
Overall, Watling has played 70 Test matches in what has been a decade-long career so far. He has aggregated 3658 runs at an average of 38.51 and has scored eight Test hundreds.
Watling made his ODI debut in 2010. It was the tri-series involving Sri Lanka, India and New Zealand in Sri Lanka. The wicket-keeper batsman made his debut against Sri Lanka and top scored for the Kiwis on debut. He scored 55 in a losing cause. For a couple of years after his debut, Watling was in and out of the side before having a smashing 2012. He scored 338 runs in six innings (four fifties) at an average of 84.50.
However, he had a poor 2013 where he could muster a mere 87 runs in six innings and since then, he has played just six ODI matches – five in 2016 and one in 2018. Even in those, he has failed to deliver. Hence, Watling’s ODI career never took off like his Test career and he seems to have run out of opportunities.
On the whole, he has played 28 ODI matches and has scored 573 runs at an average of 24.91.
Not a lot of people know but Watling made his international debut in a T20I. However, all he has managed to play are five T20Is. It was in 2009 that he played two T20Is against Pakistan. He scored only 29 runs in two innings. Since then, he has featured in three T20I games – one in 2012 and two in 2014. He has a record of 38 runs at an average of 9.50 and a strike-rate of 65.52.