Home > Features > Facts and figures >

BJ Watling maintains New Zealand’s tradition of producing fine wicketkeeper-batsmen

BJ Watling has been consistent with the bat in recent times © Getty Images
BJ Watling has been consistent with the bat in recent times © Getty Images

New Zealand’s tradition of producing wicket-keepers competent on either side of the stumps continues with BJ Watling. Abhishek Mukherjee looks at the man who has more than justified his selection following Brendon McCullum’s decision to give up the big gloves.

Ken Wadsworth was a dogged fighter; Warren Lees, a fierce competitor; Ian Smith, a belligerent bludgeoner; Adam Parore, a relentless accumulator; Brendon McCullum, on the other hand, was a bundle of energy, forever on the brink of taking off. With his ability to perform a dual role, McCullum — the undisputed batting champion of T20Is — had proved to be an asset for his side.

The surprise came when he decided to give up wicket-keeping in Tests. Given New Zealand’s frail batting line-up during their transitional period, McCullum was certain of a spot. The problem lay elsewhere: who would replace McCullum behind the stumps to play the dual role?

They tried Gareth Hopkins, Reece Young, BJ Watling, and Kruger van Wyk before eventually deciding on Watling. All four were competent behind the stumps, but it was Watling’s batting that set him apart from the pack. In fact, so good a batsman was Watling that he had even played Tests as a specialist batsman (albeit with limited success) when all the other four (McCullum, Hopkins, Young, and van Wyk) had kept wickets for New Zealand.

But how good a batsman is Watling? Only five New Zealand wicket-keepers have scored a thousand Test runs, and Watling leads the batting average charts by the proverbial mile.

M R Ave 100s
BJ Watling 17 1,041 45.26 3
Brendon McCullum 52 2,803 34.18 5
Adam Parore 67 2,479 26.94 2
Ian Smith 63 1,815 25.56 2
Ken Wadsworth 33 1,010 21.48 0

He is still not there, but it is definitely an excellent start that has put him significantly ahead of the others. But what about the bigger scenario? How does he compete there?

M R Ave 100s
AB de Villiers 21 1,823 56.96 6
Andy Flower 55 4,404 53.70 12
Adam Gilchrist 96 5,570 47.60 17
BJ Watling 17 1,041 45.26 3
Les Ames 44 2,387 43.40 8
Matt Prior 77 4,059 41.00 7
Kumar Sangakkara 48 3,117 40.48 7
Denis Lindsay 15 1,000 40.00 3
MS Dhoni 83 4,459 38.77 6
Brad Haddin 57 3,033 35.26 4

As is evident, he is in elite company, sneaking his way into the top five — alongside four of the greatest wicket-keeper batsmen in the history of the sport. Not a bad start at all!

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Deputy Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs at http://ovshake.blogspot.in and can be followed on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ovshake42)

South Africa tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Jul 24, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

India tour of England 2014

Jul 27, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Southampton

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 6, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Galle

India tour of England 2014

Aug 7, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Manchester

South Africa in Zimbabwe, 2014

Aug 9, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Harare

More

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 24, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 100 runs

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 22, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 2 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 20, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 8 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 18, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 6 wkts

India tour of England 2014

Jul 17, 2014  at London

India won by 95 runs

Photos

Heroes of India's Test wins in England

Videos

Rahul Dravid reflects on India's historic win at Lord's

Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2nd Test Day 2 Live Cricket Score: Jayawardene completes 150

10 things you need to know about Zaheer Abbas

Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2nd Test at Colombo: Pride at stake for high-flying hosts

Mahela Jayawardene at SSC: A tale of 11 tons

Please help Graeme Pollock, cricket boards and franchises of the world

England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 Ishant Sharma MS Dhoni South Africa South Africa tour of Sri Lanka 2014 South Africa vs Sri Lanka 2014 Sri Lanka Sri Lanka vs South Africa Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2014

Sri Lanka dominate the first session of Day 2 against South Africa; post 393/6 at Lunch

Darren Bravo takes Trinidad and Tobago Red Stell to victory with last-ball six against Guyana Amazon Warriors

Mahela Jayawardene completes 7,000 Test runs on Sri Lankan soil; gets to 150 against South Africa

Elton Chigumbura appointed Zimbabwe ODI and T20 captain; Brendan Taylor retained for Tests

Live Streaming: Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2nd Test at Colombo, Day 2

India tour of England 2014: Mohammed Shami has impressed in patches but wickets elude him

India tour of England 2014: Fake Facebook wall of England cricket team after the defeat at Lords

10 things you need to know about Zaheer Abbas

Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2nd Test at Colombo: Pride at stake for high-flying hosts

Mahela Jayawardene at SSC: A tale of 11 tons

Fan of the Day

Fan Cricket

Fan Cricket

11 Posts | 2 Fans

Brazil vs Netherlands, 3rd place Fifa World Cup 2014 match Video Highlights

Kaun Banega Crorepati promo: Amitabh Bachchan won’t let you go empty-handed!

United States accuses Russia of firing artillery at Ukraine

ACT launches new broadband brand ACT Fibernet

India tour of England 2014: Fake Facebook wall of England cricket team after the defeat at Lords

Alia Bhatt, Sidharth Malhotra, Karan Johar attend the special screening of Salman Khan’s Kick- View pics!

India tour of England 2014: Mohammed Shami has impressed in patches but wickets elude him

Army chief Bikram Singh pays tribute to Kargil war martyrs

Vodafone sets up customer experience center in Gurgaon

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here