New Zealand pacer Neil Wagner on Saturday said the now-retired wicketkeeper BJ Watling will be taking care of the ICC Test Championship mace for the next two weeks. The New Zealand team arrived home on Saturday and now the entire contingent will undergo 14-day mandatory isolation. The WTC final against India was Watling’s last match in international cricket. “We shared the mace around on the plane and throughout the whole night while celebrating, everybody had their turn to carry it around and make full use of that. And then on the plane, Ross Taylor got me to hand over the mace to BJ Watling, he’s going to take care of it for the next two weeks in isolation,” stuff.co.nz quoted Wagner as saying.
“I think it’s a fitting way for him to send his career off, it’s been an amazing career for us, the role he’s played for a number of years now, just the whole person he is and heart and soul of the team. He epitomises everything we are about as a team, the team-first attitude, being a guy that scraps and fights for everything, he’s led that all the way from the start. He’ll be sorely missed in this team,” he added.
Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor played unbeaten knocks off 52 and 47 respectively as New Zealand defeated India by eight wickets to clinch the inaugural edition of the WTC final at The Ageas Bowl, Southampton on Wednesday.
“It’s still hard to put into words, to be fair. It still feels unreal. Everything is socially distanced, so you can’t even really shake their hands, and we had the mace, everyone wanted to take a photo, you can’t even do that, or we couldn’t pass it on. It’s a bit of a shame but it’s part of the world we live in at the moment. It was quite nice to see some Kiwis walk past and see what it means to them, albeit in the distance waving away, and saying congratulations, it means a lot to all the boys,” said Wagner.
“I don’t think I’ve ever walked into customs and got greeted the way we did. Everyone was just straight away [saying] congratulations, pretty happy, grabbed our passports and all they wanted to ask was, Where’s the mace, where’s the mace? Seeing even police officers stopping wanting to have a photo from a distance with it… it was nice to see the smiles on everyone’s faces,” he added.
A complete effort on the Reserve Day saw New Zealand beating India in a final which had its ebbs and flows in the first innings.
The Kiwis made full use of the slender 32-run lead and the Williamson-led side bundled out India cheaply in the second innings to get a target of just 139. The batsmen did not relent and in the end, the side walked away with a comfortable victory.
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