We live in a different time-zone and we usually miss what New Zealand do. Blame them as well for not creating controversies to top the headlines as other teams would do. You don’t call them underrated but a team that often decide to stay off the limelight.
Apart from the players who are currently legends, you don’t even remember the names of other players and you would never recognize them. They don’t care about the limelight as well. Something you call it an honest living. You might bump into them in the grocery store and you wouldn’t remember their face.
While the whole New Zealand team is like that, BJ Watling is possibly the leader when it comes to “honest living”. I mean, you would hear his name here and there but not as much as Williamson.
People would write millions of articles about Williamson’s, say 90s, whereas, Watling’s hundred would have gone unnoticed.
He is the king when it comes to playing the second-fiddle to his star players and doesn’t care about going unnoticed. He doesn’t own a trademark shot or follows the perfect textbook shots. He randomly would go finding the gaps and the sparkle in his eyes would talk about his stubbornness.
He is not the one who would give up easily. Walking through the top-order hasn’t been difficult for the opponent these days but to get through the defence of Watling. The stubbornness stands out. He would go picking up the gaps and giving opportunities to players like Southee to unleash themselves and if Southee falls, he makes sure to guard the tail-ender as much as possible, thereby producing a yawning session. People are not a great fan of that, are they?
The kid generation doesn’t love Test cricket these days. They want boundaries and sixes. They want to see sexy shots and innovation. Unfortunately, Watling is unsexy. He is not the only you’d meet in suits but the one in Pajamas. The latter is normal and for New Zealand, they would call it as the home. But for the major cricket fans though, the suits are the attraction and even the looks fail, they make sure to glorify them. I mean, who cares about Pajamas and the different pattern in them.
Watling’s routine is that he wakes up, goes in when the team is in trouble, shows the grit and resistance and pushes the team to a better score, goes back to the dressing room, comes out to keep wickets and save runs.
Oh yes, people don’t remember that he keeps wicket. Blame him. He doesn’t sledge or over-celebrate. He neither fly or squat too much. He doesn’t moon either. Still, he can grab nine catches in a match, which he has done twice and go unnoticed. His moves once again are unsexy. He is that introvert who comes to the work, does his job goes away once his eight hours get over and doesn’t give a damn. He leads a peaceful life. He is happy. Unfortunately, people are crappy that they hate happy people. Oh hey, nobody pays to watch the hero with zero problems, right?
Maybe, one day, Watling will become all sexy with whatever he does, and people fall in love with him. Maybe, in the alternate universe. Maybe in the place where being underrated means the world, something equal to a superstar.