McCullum praises new 'favourite' Watling

New Zealand

New Zealand may have lost the second Test against the West Indies by 10 wickets, but skipper Brendon McCullum chose to look at the positives, particularly wicketkeeper BJ Watling's batting effort.

New Zealand may have lost the second Test against the West Indies by 10 wickets, but skipper Brendon McCullum chose to look at the positives, particularly wicketkeeper BJ Watling's batting effort.

With the Windies doing well with the ball in both innings, the Black Caps needed staunch resistance to even take the game to day five, and Watling provided that, batting for six hours to end on a gusty yet futile 66 not out.

McCullum said after the match: "BJ is fast becoming my favourite cricketer, actually. His strength of character and his fighting qualities.

"The guy never complains, gets on with the job, goes out there and keeps for a hundred-and-something overs and goes out and bats for seven hours trying to save a Test match for his country.

"It's not the first time he's done it. He's done it on numerous occasions now and he's certainly a guy who's becoming a strong leader within the group as well.

"He's doing that through his actions and leading by example and that's a really good sign because we're still a young team, so we need as many leaders within the group as possible."

McCullum then went on to rue his side's first innings collapse, where they went for 159/3 to 221 all out, and said the Windies did well to take advantage of that, with Jerome Taylor ripping through the middle order.

He continued: "I thought right through the Test, barring one session where we lost seven for 60, we were pretty good.

"I thought with the ball, and once they got 400, the application and intensity with which our seamers bowled, particularly, was outstanding, something we can be really proud of and any other day they could have easily knocked the top off the West Indies batting order.

"I keep going back to that first day when we lost seven for 60. That put us behind the game and allowed West Indies back into the series and that they did, they kept coming at us and putting us under pressure and obviously today they got the rewards for that."

But he was not disconsolate, thinking of the eight Tests in a row they went unbeaten, and was confident they'd be able to get a series win in the third Test in Barbados next week.

He added: "We've been going pretty well in Test cricket in the last 12 to 18 months and our formula has become pretty familiar to us, and some guys are always going to miss out and some guys are always going to get runs.

"We've just got to make sure that we're still trying to do the right things and keep trying to execute our gameplan. If we do that, and we have a little bit of luck as well going our way in Barbados, I'm confident we can turn this performance around and again finish with a strong performance."

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