Cricket: Blackcaps' BJ Watling to retire after World Test Championship final

Blackcaps veteran BJ Watling's test tour to England will be his last.

The 35-year-old wicketkeeper batsman will hang up his gloves after the two-test series against England next month and the World Test Championship final against India.

Since his 2009 test debut, the South African-born Watling has established himself as New Zealand's - and arguably the world's - most prolific runscoring gloveman.

Only Australia's Adam Gilchrist and England's Matt Prior have scored more runs at a better average as their team's designated wicketkeeper than Watling.

"It's the right time," says Watling, who has recently become a father for the second time.

"It's been a huge honour to represent New Zealand and, in particular, wear the test baggy. Test cricket really is the pinnacle of the game and I've loved every minute of being out there in the whites with the boys.

"Sitting in the changing rooms having a beer with the team after five days' toil is what I'll miss the most.

"I've played with some great players and made many good mates. I've also had plenty of help along the way for which I'll always be grateful."

Through his 73 tests to date, the long-form specialist has scored 3773 runs at an average of 38.11, including eight centuries and 19 fifties.

He's rescued countless NZ innings with his dogged determination and middle-order patience, which have become the trademarks of his gritty batting approach.

Watling's 205 against England at Mt Maunganui in 2019 - his top score in tests - epitomised his temperament as a batsman.

Facing 473 balls, he set the foundation for a comprehensive victory by an innings and 65 runs, becoming the only NZ wicketkeeper to ever score a double-century and just the ninth in test history.

He also owns the record for most test dismissals by an NZ wicketkeeper, surpassing Adam Parore's record of 201. Watling currently has 249 catches and eight stumpings as a wicketkeeper, and another 10 catches as a fielder.

Watling has been part of some of New Zealand's biggest test partnerships, holding the records for the fourth and fifth highest partnerships - 362 with Brendon McCullum against India at the Basin Reserve in 2014 and an unbroken 365 with current captain Kane Williamson against Sri Lanka at the same ground a year later. 

If Watling plays all three tests on the upcoming tour, he will surpass Parore's record of most tests as a New Zealand keeper (67).

Blackcaps coach Gary Stead has paid tribute to Watling and his significant contribution to lifting the side to the top of the ICC test rankings.

"BJ is a wonderful player and a great bloke," Stead says. "He works really hard on his game to get improvements and always puts the team first.

"You just have to look at the respect he’s held in by his teammates and the opposition to appreciate his standing in the game.

"The records speak for themselves and he's been such a crucial cog in the test team's rise over the past decade

"He is, without a doubt, one of our best ever wicketkeeper-batsmen."