A lot has been mentioned about Devon Conway’s journey from South Africa to New Zealand but today let’s try to assess how the southpaw became the most valuable all format player for his country without taking a considerable amount of time!
June 2021. New Zealand Cricket reached to the pinnacle of the sport. Kane Williamson’s men became the Test Champions by winning the inaugural Test Championship (2019-2021), billed as nothing shy of a Test World Cup. The team was welcomed as heroes back home and was termed as the greatest in their cricket history.
A series of transformations for New Zealand
January 2023. New Zealand Cricket’s visage has undergone a remarkable change. BJ Watling, Ross Taylor and Colin de Grandhomme walked in the sunset of their respective careers by taking retirements. But, this isn’t the only thing that’s going to change.
Trent Boult, Martin Guptill and Jimmy Neesham opt for franchise cricket to ensure they earn as much as possible before their career comes to an end. All the precious players didn’t go for central contract with New Zealand Cricket Board.
The challenge for the board now is to ensure they continue to make a fine balance between International Cricket and T20 franchise sport. The only constant until such time is the man called Devon Conway.
Though truth be told, New Zealand Cricket administrators must be applauded for they have done their job commendably to avoid any such conflict till now.
In spite of all this, the number of all format players continued to dwindle. More changes continued to take centre-stage in the realm of the Blackcaps.
Kane Williamson gave up captaincy and is very rarely seen in ODI cricket these days. Besides, Tim Southee’s workload is under scrutiny. Amid such a scenario, Daryll Mitchell and Devon Conway have emerged as all format players for New Zealand.
While Mitchell have also played some critical innings but Conway’s ability to open the innings- considered as the most difficult job for batsmen, separates him from Mitchell. An add on is his ability to keep wicket as well in the absence of Tom Latham makes him the most valuable all-format player for Kiwis.
Here’s a batsman who isn’t perturbed by spin and can most certainly inflict damage to the most challenging of fast bowlers.
And so far, it appears to be going all well for Devon Conway.
He has scored 1150 runs in 12 Tests at an excellent average of 54.76. He also has 4 hundreds to his name, which means he scores a hundred in every 3 Tests.
If that is not a hallmark of a premier batsman, then what is?
Considering he has played most of his cricket in swinging and seaming conditions of New Zealand, his run making ability is remarkable.
His ability to score in all conditions puts him in the league of his own. And it’s a league to which many of today’s youngsters would like to belong.
After starting his Test career against England with a double century, Devon Conway scored tons of runs against Pakistan. While the pitches were flat, one cannot take away the fact that he showed he possessed all the shots in his repertoire. After scoring 232 runs at 77.33 in Tests, he scored another century in One Day series which ensured a historic 2-1 series victory for New Zealand.
In India while the team continued to struggle and faced numerous defeats, Conway looked as the most assured of all the Kiwi batters. In the third ODI at Indore, he scored a brilliant hundred filled with eye catching strokes, but the team lost by big margin.
Graceful in defeat, he was New Zealand’s only strong point that evening.
In his 18 matches-long ODI career, Conway has 733 runs at an average of 45.81. In a world stymied by fast-paced non-stop cricket, Conway seems to have hit the sweet spot in the law if averages.
In a year when New Zealand will try to make amends of previous heartbreaks (2015 and 2019 finals), Conway’s form will be crucial for New Zealand’s cause to win their first ever 50 over World Cup trophy.
In spite of starting late (at the age of 29) Devon Conway have taken little time to adjust to the pressures of the International Cricket. New Zealand will hope that he will continue to be the backbone of the national cricket team at least for next half a decade.
Devon Conway’s Career