Cricket

Conway: a great player in the making?

Inclement weather washing out Monday’s play in the ICC World Test Championship final lent time to reflect on Devon Conway’s early achievements and the possibility of him emerging as a significant batsman of merit.

The 29-year-old left-hander, who moved from South Africa to New Zealand in 2016, has an insatiable appetite for runs. And it is not about statistics but the sight he presents at the crease, with an ice-cool temperament which is so reassuring to the New Zealand supporters.

Solid and organised

Opening the innings, he is solid and organised with footwork and balance. He knows his off-stump whether he plays or leaves, whips deliveries on the leg-side, with his rear leg up as he executes the stroke, and can pull the short-pitched deliveries.

He allows the ball to come to him, plays it late and can take the sting off the bowling. His push-drives in the ‘V’ have fetched him a lot of runs, so have the cover-drives where his foot reaches out to the ball’s pitch.

His initial numbers are mind-boggling. He began his Test career with a recent 200 at the hallowed Lord’s against an incisive English pace attack.

This was followed by a series-clinching 80 in the second Test at Edgbaston. And he appeared calm and efficient against a probing Indian attack in demanding conditions at Southampton, when his strength, the whiplash flick, led to his dismissal for a well-made 54.

Staggering numbers

A look at Conway’s numbers in New Zealand’s domestic competitions, across formats, is staggering. Last season he was the highest scorer in all three formats with 701 runs in six First Class matches in the Plunket Shield, New Zealand’s First Class cricket, 553 runs in 10 innings in the List-A Ford Trophy and 543 runs in 11 matches of the Super Smash T20 tournament.

Batting conditions in New Zealand’s domestic cricket are never easy, but Conway relished the challenge. His 327 not out for Wellington against Canterbury made sure the New Zealand selectors offered him a Central Contract. An ODI hundred against Bangladesh in Wellington, an unbeaten 99 versus Australia in the T20 international at Christchurch followed.

A natural run-getter, formats do not bother him and he adjusts seamlessly because of sound fundamentals. Is Conway destined for a shot at greatness? The initial signs seem good.


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Printable version | Jul 29, 2021 5:01:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/conway-a-great-player-in-the-making/article34892447.ece

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