World Test Championship final: Blackcaps' BJ Watling plays down emotion heading into final test

  • 16/06/2021

Blackcaps veteran BJ Watling will be chasing the ideal career swansong in this weekend's World Test Championship.

The inaugural showpiece event at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton will be Watling's final appearance in the whites for New Zealand, before heading into retirement.

The 35-year-old was a late scratch from the second test against England at Edgbaston due to a back injury, but is determined to be ready to make a parting contribution with a fern on his chest.

"I had a training on day five of the last test and the back seemed to pull through nicely," Watling says.

"I did a little bit of work today as well and I'm feeling reasonably good. There's another two days to go, and it should be all good."

But, in typical fashion, the demure wicketkeeper who made his test debut back in 2009 - played down any suggestions there'd be an extra dose of emotion and sentiment involved in his 75th and final test for the Blackcaps.

"I'm just looking forward to playing another test match," Watling insists. "It is an exciting one, and I'm certainly pretty pumped to be in the final.

"I'm just going into it how I do with every other test, going through the process of trying to win a test match.''

That said, Watling realises what the achievement would mean to the Blackcaps, whose resurgence in the test arena he's played a large hand in, particularly with his gritty stands at the crease through the middle order.

"It's obviously a massive opportunity to win a title, but I think what we've been doing leading into this, winning the games at home this summer, and then obviously winning a test series against England, it's certainly been fantastic.

"We'll try and do our best and try to carry on the form that we've been playing in for a reasonably long period."

The Blackcaps will need every inch of that against India's dangerous twin-pronged spin attack if they're to both round out a memorable year and farewell Watling in ideal fashion.

"I've certainly enjoyed the time I have spent with this team playing cricket for New Zealand," he says. "It's been a hell of a journey."

Join us from Friday, June 18 for live updates of the World Test Championship final between the Blackcaps and India