Cricket: 'Big shoes to fill' - Tom Blundell hails BJ Watling's example in preparation to become Blackcaps wicketkeeper

Tom Blundell knows he has big shoes to fill, if he is to take over the Blackcaps' wicketkeeping role from retiring BJ Watling after the upcoming World Test Championship final.

After more than a decade in the NZ test side, Watling will hang up his gloves after the England tour, but hoping to steer New Zealand home to a world title against India first.

After debuting as an injury replacement, Blundell has happily served as the Blackcaps' back-up wicketkeeper, before being thrust into the role of makeshift opening batsman.

And while Blundell has a fight to keep hold of the opening spot - with both Devon Conway and Will Young breathing down his neck - the 30-year-old Wellingtonian seems next cab off the rank to don the gloves, when Watling retires.

As the Blackcaps train in Southampton for their upcoming test series against England, Blundell has hailed the example Watling's set during his time playing for New Zealand.

"I think he's a fantastic guy to look up to," Blundell says. "I've been around the group for the last four or five years, and to watch him is special.

"I've learned a lot from him. He goes about his work pretty tough, he works his arse off."

After playing 73 tests - most of those as wicketkeeper - Watling has been part of a golden age in NZ cricket.

Since taking the gloves in 2012, Watling has been part of numerous test and series wins, as well as notching record partnerships with the likes of Brendon McCullum and Kane Williamson.

What's more, Watling's done it his way, renowned for his determination and ability to dig the Blackcaps out of losing situations.

Blundell knows he has his work cut out for him, if he's to make the wicketkeeping position his own.

"The way he operates is where I want to get to, but in my own way," Blundell adds. "He's been a great role model for me in the last few years.

"It's big boots to fill, but hopefully, I can live up to what he's done in the past."

The Blackcaps tour of England begins with an intrasquad match in Taunton on Thursday, in preparation for the two-test series, starting at Lord's on June 2.

New Zealand will play the second test at Birmingham's Edgbaston from June 10, before the World Test Championship final against India on June 18.

Join us for live updates of the Blackcaps v India World Test Championship final