New Zealand 'leap of faith' pays off for Devon Conway

back icon
safari
14 Oct 2021 | 04:01 AM
authorAFP

New Zealand 'leap of faith' pays off for Devon Conway

He has no experience in the UAE -- co-host of the T20 World Cup -- but is unfazed, saying he would rely on advice from teammates who have played there previously

By his own admission, Devon Conway was struggling in South Africa before a bold move to New Zealand turned around his cricketing fortunes in spectacular fashion. The left-handed batsman now finds himself a key part of a Black Caps squad intent on continuing their winning ways at the T20 World Cup starting this week after claiming the inaugural World Test Championship.

Just over four years ago, Conway was a journeyman domestic cricketer in his South African homeland, regarded as capable but not on the radar for the Proteas. Former teammate Omphile Ramela said the powers-that-be in South African cricket referred to Conway as an "amateur bully" who could dominate domestic attacks but was not good enough for international cricket.

With his career at a standstill, the Johannesburg-born batsman headed overseas in September 2017 at the age of 26 looking for new experiences. Rather than tread the well-worn path from South Africa to English county cricket, Conway pitched up in Wellington on the advice of compatriot Malcolm Nofal, who had enjoyed a spell playing in the New Zealand capital.

"I sort of realised that I hadn't taken the opportunities I'd been given with both hands and I wasn't going to play any higher in South Africa, so I took a leap of faith and came over to New Zealand," Conway, now 30, told AFP. "I knew I still wanted to play international cricket but the Blacks Caps seemed a million miles away at the time."

For Conway, it was "about getting back my enjoyment of the game and finding a way to play cricket the way I used to when I was growing up". Casting aside the doubts that had shackled his performances in South Africa, Conway lit up New Zealand's domestic cricket scene, topping the batting charts across all three formats in his first two full seasons with Wellington.

Named domestic player of the year in 2020, Conway was fast-tracked into the Black Caps after his three-year residency was completed, with chief selector Gavin Larsen saying his talent was "impossible to ignore". He impressed at international level in limited-overs formats, with The New Zealand Herald hailing him as "a once-in-a-generation player" -- high praise indeed when his teammates include the likes of skipper Kane Williamson.

Conway then launched his Test career in June this year with a scintillating 200 against England at Lord's, setting a record score for a debutant at the ground regarded as the home of cricket. He followed up later that month by helping New Zealand notch an upset win over Virat Kohli's India in the final of the World Test Championship.

The victory eased painful memories for New Zealand of back-to-back losses in the finals of the 2015 and 2019 one-day World Cups.

"It has given the group that confidence," Conway said. "We felt that we've been in and around those finals for the last few ICC events and now we know we can win those moments."

Conway has no experience in the UAE -- co-host of the T20 World Cup -- but is unfazed, saying he would rely on advice from teammates who have played there previously. While playing in a World Cup is "epic", Conway said the key to success was maintaining the level-headed approach he brought to his game since his move to New Zealand, no matter how intense the atmosphere.

"The biggest thing for me is, try not to make too much of a big occasion out of it, at the end of the day, it's still another game of cricket," he said. "It's about keeping a simple focus, taking each game at a time and not looking too far ahead."

heart
shareGray Share
Tags
ICC World Twenty20, 2021New Zealand

Related Articles

safari
NEWS
Defeating India in their home bigger challenge than beating them in WTC final: Conway
New Zealand will be touring India in November to play three T20Is and two Tests after the T20 World Cup
userPTI
03 Oct 2021
safari
NEWS
Highest score against England, second opener to slam 200 on debut, and much more
Devon Conway set numerous records in his debut innings against England at Lord’s
userAnirudh Kasargod
03 Jun 2021
safari
OPINION
Devon Conway: An opportunist whose versatility bodes well for New Zealand
The New Zealand batsman scored a stoke-filled ton on debut at Lord's to go with his impressive beginnings in limited-overs cricket
userPramod Ananth
03 Jun 2021
safari
NEWS
Conway set for Test debut vs England at Lord's, confirms Williamson
The southpaw has played 17 limited-overs matches for the Blackcaps so far
usercricket.com staff
02 Jun 2021
safari
NEWS
"See myself as a guy who bats anywhere," says Conway ahead of his potential Test debut
The southpaw put on 106 with Tom Latham in the intra-squad warm-up match
usercricket.com staff
28 May 2021
safari
NEWS
Dukes ball preparation back home beneficial: Conway
He feels adjusting to the cold weather in England is a slight challenge
userPTI
23 May 2021
safari
REPORT
Conway's purple patch continues as New Zealand thrash Bangladesh in 1st T20I
The southpaw unbeaten 52-ball 92 gave New Zealand a massive total of 210
userAFP
28 Mar 2021
safari
REPORT
Conway, Mitchell, Neesham star as New Zealand rout Bangladesh
The hosts won the third ODI by 164 runs and have completed a 3-0 whitewash
userAFP
26 Mar 2021
safari
REPORT
Conway, Sodhi guide New Zealand to huge win in first T20I
The hosts recovered from 19/3 to secure a comfortable win in the first T20I against Australia
userNitin Fernandes
22 Feb 2021
safari
NEWS
South Africa-born Devon Conway free to represent New Zealand says ICC
Conway will be available for selection from August 28, the ICC has confirmed
userPTI
31 Mar 2020
logo
Cricket like never before
Follow us on
FacebookTwitterLinkedin
@ 2020 cricket.com | All rights reserved