BJ Watling, who played his final professional cricket game on Wednesday, expressed that it was surreal to sign off from the sport as a world champion, and revealed that the feeling was satisfying. Incredibly, Watling continued to keep on the final day despite dislocating a finger before lunch.
One month ago, wicket-keeper batsman BJ Watling announced that he’d be retiring from the sport, altogether, post the World Test Championship final and thus the focus was on the veteran come the finale. The 35-year-old did not impress with the bat, scoring just one run, but put a remarkable shift behind the wickets. Despite the ball swerving around, Watling remarkably conceded a solitary bye across 165 overs, taking 5 catches in the process. An injury early on Day 6 threatened to bring his final appearance to a premature end, but Watling battled on, and staggeringly kept wickets with a dislocated finger to embody the spirit of the Kiwi side.
That New Zealand gifted Watling with a World Championship in his last ever appearance for the country proved to be fitting, and speaking post the historic win, the 35-year-old expressed that it was special to be able to sign off in style.
“Ecstatic. Been a lot of hard work over a long period of time as a group. To get over the line is special. Chasing a total like that on a wicket that was offering a bit, was special from two of our greatest,” Watling said on Wednesday.
“I didn’t imagine I’d end as a World Test Champion. My family back home, my mum has stood up for me in tough times, my wife Jess and the two boys – a thank you to all of them. It’s been a hell of a journey. Huge support over the years from my mates. We’ve got a special group, this is a great way to finish.”
On Wednesday, Watling overtook (257) MS Dhoni (256) to finish his career as the wicket-keeper with the seventh highest number of catches in Test history.