3 Possible Wicket Keepers for New Zealand after BJ Watling’s Retirement in Tests

New Zealand has played some brilliant cricket in their UK tour 2021 as they won a two-match Test series against England and defeated India in World Test Championship Final 2021. New Zealand’s Wicket-Keeper BJ Watling had already announced that he would retire after the World Test Championship Final match against India. BJ Watling has been retired as New Zealand won the title of Inaugural edition of the World Test Championship.

BJ Watling played 75 Test matches where the wicket-keeper batsman scored 3790 runs at an average of 38. He also scored 8 hundred and 19 fifties during his Test career for New Zealand. As a wicket-keeper, BJ Watling was involved in 265 dismissals where he made 257 catches and 8 stumpings from behind the stump. After his retirement, New Zealand will have to look for a new wicket-keeper batsman in Test cricket. However, Tom Latham has been doing wicket-keeping in limited-overs for New Zealand, but they will look for a specialist in the longer format of the game.

BJ Watling Test Cricket Stats
BJ Watling – Test Career Stats

In this article, we will discuss three possible Wicket-Keepers who can replace BJ Watling in the New Zealand Test team.

1. Tom Blundell 

Tom Blundell is an aggressive Wicket-Keeper batsman who is known for his variety of sweep shots with his bat. A Wellington-born Wicket-Keeper batsman made his Test debut in December 2017 against West Indies. The young wicket-keeper played 11 Test matches so far in his career, where he scored 572 runs at an average of 38. He also scored two hundred and two fifties in his short career for New Zealand. He also scored a hundred on his Test debut against West Indies at Wellington.

Blundell played 72 First-class matches in his career, where he picked 154 catches and did 6 stumpings. He scored 3856 runs in his first-class matches at an average of 36. In the second Test match against England, Tom Blundell replaced BJ Watling as Watling got injured in the mid-series. He has always been part of the New Zealand squad and maintained his position as a backup option. So after the retirement of BJ Watling, there are very strong chances that Tom Blundell can replace Watling as a Test Wicket-Keeper batsman.

2. Tim Seifert 

Tim Seifert is a young right-handed wicket-keeper batsman who made his mark in international cricket in the T20 format of the game. The young and dynamite batsman-wicket keeper made his International debut in 2018 against England. However, he didn’t play much ODI cricket in the initial stage of his International career. He has been part of only three ODI matches, and the young keeper-batsman is yet to make his Test debut for New Zealand.

Tim has been a wicket-keeper since he was at intermediate school, and he was also looked after by former NZ keeper Gareth Hopkins and Jason Hills. Tim Seifert scored 291 runs at an average of 36 in his 51 matches first-class career. He also made 125 catches, 7 stumpings, and 1 run out behind the stumps. Tim can be a long-term option for New Zealand as a Test Wicket-Keeper position. Here is what Brendon McCullum ha to say about him.

3. Glenn Phillips 

Glenn Phillips is another young right-handed wicket-keeper batsman known for his ability to make quick runs in the middle order. After his limited appearances in International cricket, he is widely tipped as one of the next-generation batsmen. The South Africa-born New Zealand Cricketer made his International debut in February 2017 against South Africa. He also played his Test debut against Australia in 2020. However, he played just one Test match in his career so far.

Phillips played 38 first-class matches where the keeper-batsman scored 2355 runs at an average of 40. His strike rate has always been impressive in any format of the game, as he has a strike rate of 63 in his first-class career. In the last season of the Plunket-Shield Tournament, he scored 390 runs in 10 innings at an average of 39. Phillips can be another good option in the middle order as a replacement for BJ Watling.

To Conclude

Apart from these three options, New Zealand can persist with Tom Latham or Devon Conway, who keep wickets for their respective domestic team in white-ball cricket. But one point which New Zealand thinks about is that both players are openers in Test cricket, so that they will pick a middle-order option as a replacement for BJ Watling.

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