The Weekend Leader - NZ gloveman Watling out of penultimate career Test with sore back

NZ gloveman Watling out of penultimate career Test with sore back




New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman BJ Watling's swansong hit a jarring note on Thursday after the 35-year-old was ruled out of the second Test against England due to a sore back.

The Test match at Edgbaston, which began on Thursday, was expected to be the penultimate of his career, as he looks to retire after the World Test Championship (WTC) final against India.

"BLACKCAPS wicket-keeper BJ Watling is a late withdrawal from the second Test against England in Birmingham, after failing to overcome a sore back," said a statement from New Zealand Cricket.

"The injury has troubled Watling in the past and although it has improved in the past 24 hours, it hasn't improved enough to be confident of him getting through a full Test behind the stumps," added the statement which also confirmed that Tom Blundell, who has played 10 Tests, replaced him as the wicketkeeper.

England won the toss and elected to bat.

Watling could recover for the WTC final but if Blundell does well at Edgbaston, the veteran might have already played his last match.

He had announced last month that he would quit international cricket after the tour of England.

"It's the right time," Watling was quoted as saying in a statement released by New Zealand Cricket on May 11.

"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," the 35-year-old veteran, who has played 74 Test matches and 28 ODIs, had said.

Watling holds the record for most dismissals by a New Zealand wicketkeeper with 252 catches -- excluding 10 as a fielder -- and eight stumpings.

His bowler-wicketkeeper catching combinations with Tim Southee (75), Trent Boult (55) and Neil Wagner (53) occupy the top three spots on the New Zealand record list.-IANS

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