Teams Played For
New Zealand, New Zealand U19, Northern Knights, New Zealand A, Durham
Bradley-John Watling, was born in South Africa, but moved to New Zealand when he was 10 years old. A technically sound right-hand wicket-keeper batsman, Watling made his New Zealand debut in 2009 and since then has been a regular feature for the Kiwis.
He was a part of New Zealand’s U19 team in 2003 and soon his performances caught the eyes of the selectors at Northern District. Watling repaid the faith shown in him as the wicket-keeper piled on runs in the 2006/07 season and the following season he had an average of 60 in the ODI format for the Northern District.
His stunning performances earned him a maiden international ODI call-up against Pakistan in 2009, but was not included in the playing XI for any matches. However, his keeping skills got him a spot in the playing XI for the T20 series against the same opposition.
He got a chance to make his Test debut against Pakistan in the third Test match of the series. Watling grabbed the opportunity with both hands with a quick-fire 60 in the second innings as the match was eventually drawn.
Between 2009 and 2012, Watling played only eight Test matches- the first six as a specialist batsman- before being drafted in as the first choice wicket-keeper in 2013.
Good batting performances in the Test arena earned him his maiden ODI call-up in 2010 against Sri Lanka. Watling batted well in his debut innings and was the top scorer with 55 runs. He was in and out of the ODI setup and two years later, went on to register his highest score in ODI’s (96*) against the Lankans in Pallekele.
In the same year, Watling scored his maiden Test ton against Zimbabwe, helping the Kiwis register a big total that allowed them to win the Test by an innings and 301 runs.
Apart from being a tidy keeper behind the stumps, Watling has earned a reputation of playing well against the top international sides. In 2014, Watling, along with Brendon McCullum, stitched a 352 run stand for the 6th-wicket against India. He went on to score 124 in that Test match and ever since then, his Test average has seen a meteoric rise.
The following year, Watling was again involved in a big partnership, but this time with Kane Williamson. The duo added 365 runs for the 6th-wicket against Sri Lanka as New Zealand went on to win that match comfortably.
In the first Test match against Sri Lanka in 2015, Watling took his 100th dismissal and also went on to take 100 catches as he finished the Test with 9 catches in total, a record that he shares with McCullum.
Four years later against Bangladesh, Watling registered his 202 dismissals in Test cricket, most for a New Zealand wicket-keeper, surpassing Adam Parore’s record of 201.
Watling has been one of the most consistent performers for the Black Caps for the past 10 years. His ODI career didn’t go according to the plan, but when he decides to hang up his boots, Watling will be remembered for his services in the whites for New Zealand.
(As of March 2021)