May 12 (Reuters) – BJ Watling will look at coaching options once he hangs up his gloves at the end of the upcoming tour of England, the retiring New Zealand wicketkeeper said on Wednesday.
Watling, 35, has been a fixture in New Zealand’s test team since his 2009 debut and will leave selectors with big shoes to fill as the country’s most successful wicketkeeper-batsman.
Watling is planning a break with family when he returns from England, but suggested coaching was a long-term goal.
“It’s something I’m looking at,” Watling told New Zealand media.
“The next six months or so I’ll just kind of wing it at this stage and I’ll start to look into what options I have after the game.”
A quiet achiever, South Africa-born Watling holds the Black Caps’ record for test dismissals, with 257 as a wicketkeeper, including eight stumpings.
He also has 3,773 runs in 73 tests at an average of 38.11 with eight hundreds and 19 half-centuries, his highest score of 205 coming against England at Mt Maunganui in 2019.
He denied his long career had taken a toll on his body, and said his decision to retire from all cricket was mostly to spend more time with his young family.
“Actually no, the body feels surprisingly good. A few years ago I would have said my body is going to play up and that will be it, but actually I’m feeling quite fresh in the body,” he said.
“I think there’s a few other factors and spending some time at home will be the main thing.”
New Zealand fast bowler Tim Southee paid tribute to his Northern Districts and test team mate.
“He’s a man of few words, but his actions that everyone has seen over a long period of time sum up what BJ is about,” said Southee.
New Zealand play two tests against England from June 2 followed by the ICC World Test Championship Final against India from June 18. (Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Kim Coghill)
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