Bradley-John Watling takes us to the heart of New Zealand cricket – fighting, absorbing pressure, changing scripts.
Wellington, 2014: Watling addresses the media after the second day’s play. It was for him a productive outing with five catches with the big gloves. New Zealand, 24 for one after awarding a huge lead of 246, however, are facing a certain defeat against India.
Talking to the press, Watling is usually defiant. “I like situations like that. It brings out the best in me. That’s why we play Test cricket. ”
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These were not empty words. New Zealand were reduced to 94 for five in the second innings and the Indian scribes were planning two free days, with the test set to end early.
Then Watling joined captain Brendon McCullum. And India were wicket-free until the session after tea on day four. McCullum (302) and Watling (124) were involved in a record score of 352 runs around the sixth wicket, which frustrated the visitor.
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McCullum showed typical intuition, Watling was rock solid. And the test ended in a draw.
And now Watling has increased international cricket after the Kiwis won the Test highlight in Southampton.
The respect for Watling, who scored 36, is great in the New Zealand team. No wonder he was one of McCullum’s favorite cricketers for his never-say-death attitude. Faith was the cornerstone of Watling’s game.
Watling started his Test career in 2009 as a specialist starting candidate against Pakistan in Napier in 2009. And it was McCullum’s decision to only hold matches with a shorter duration, which paved the way for Watling to be a batsman in the Tests.
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He seized the opportunity. And when he ended his Test career in Southampton, Watling passed in 75 Tests, scoring 3,790 runs on a commendable 37.52 point with eight centuries and 267 catches and hitting eight stumps.
For New Zealand, this South African-born cricketer was a man for crisis situations in the middle order. He had the precious quality to draw in the pressure and use it as a motivating factor.
The extremely suitable Watling developed as a goalkeeper and aerial capture on both sides of the wicket was commonplace in his career.
And he improved his gloves against spinning, although New Zealand had a largely tempo-oriented attack. When the Kiwis stunned Pakistan in the UAE Test series, Watling was a sharp and effective spinner.
And now, as he leaves the international stage to spend more time with the family, he does so in the knowledge that he has given it the best chance.