South African born, BJ (Bradley John) Watling has navigated his way from U17 age group cricket all the way to the BLACKCAPS first team.
Known as ‘Crabby’ thanks to his excellent lateral movement in the field, BJ is a talented right-handed batsman and more recently New Zealand’s Test wicket keeper. After coming to New Zealand at the age of 10, he lived in Tokoroa for three years, showing his talent in numerous sports.
Cricket however took priority. BJ was picked up by the Northern Districts to play in the domestic competitions, following his involvement in the 2003/04 National U-19 World Cup.
After a superb First-Class season during 2008/09, BJ was selected to play against Pakistan in a Twenty20 match in Dubai. BJ made 22 in a losing effort, but a few weeks later was chosen to play his first Test against Pakistan. BJ was leading New Zealand to victory on 60 not out, before rain dashed his hopes of a maiden century and New Zealand’s chance of a win.
BJ went on to make his ODI debut, but was slow to find consistency at the top level. After a strong 2011/12 season with the Northern Knights, Watling was given the opportunity to become the number one Test keeper for BLACKCAPS and made the most of his chance with a century against Zimbabwe. Unfortunately injury ruled him out of the following series against South Africa, but he then returned to all three formats when the BLACKCAPS travelled to the West Indies.
His solid form through the 2012/13 domestic competitions led to selections for the ODI and Test squads against South Africa and England. During both series he again proved himself as New Zealand's number one Test wicket keeper.
In the winter BJ plays hockey to help him keep his mind off cricket.