July 09, 1985, Durban, South Africa
Right hand bat
A right-handed opening batsman and part-time wicketkeeper, Bradley-John Watling spent his early years in Durban, South Africa, before moving to New Zealand as a ten-year-old. He was part of the Under-19 squad for the World Cup in Bangladesh in 2003-04 before making it to the Northern Districts squad. He was the second-highest run-scorer for his state team in his third season (2006-07) with 564 runs at 37.60. He was in prime form during the one-day State Shield competition in 2008-09 with 509 runs at a stunning 63.62 and that helped him earn a place in the New Zealand one-day squad for the ODIs in the UAE against Pakistan.
In 2010, after Brendon McCullum decided to keep wicket for New Zealand only in the ODIs, Watling emerged as the best long-term prospect for New Zealand in Tests, among contenders like Gareth Hopkins, Reece Young and Kruger van Wyk. Between 2009 and 2012, he played only eight Tests - the first six as a specialist batsman - before settling into the role of New Zealand's full-time wicketkeeper for the longer format in 2013.
Apart from being tidy behind the stumps, Watling's batting has also been impressive. Against India in February 2014, Watling and McCullum put together a record sixth-wicket partnership of 352 in Wellington. Watling's 124 in that Test was his first century against a top-eight nation. On the tour of West Indies, Watling's battling 66 and his 99-run partnership with Mark Craig delayed a West Indies win in Port-of-Spain. His efforts prompted McCullum to state that Watling was becoming one of his favourite cricketers.
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