AUCKLAND, New Zealand, CMC – BJ Watling has been ruled out of wicket-keeping duties for the first Test against West Indies in Wellington, after failing to recover in time from a nagging hip injury.
The 32-year-old first choice gloveman had been named in the Black Caps Test squad announced last week, with the proviso he would be “monitored and evaluated over the coming week.”
Selector Gavin Larsen had indicated that Watling would have to keep for Northern Districts in this weekend’s first class game against Otago, in order to be passed fit.
However, Watling passed on wicketkeeping duties to Tim Seifert in the match which bowled off yesterday in Alexandra, ruling himself out of contention.
He had also not kept wicket in the previous three first class matches for Northern Districts.
Wellington’s uncapped Tom Blundell is widely expected to be drafted into the squad as Watling’s replacement.
Watling, meanwhile, will remain in the New Zealand squad and could still play as a batsman only. He struck a half-century yesterday against Otago.
The opening Test of the two-match series bowls off at the Basin Reserve in Wellington from December 1-5.