Prolific New Zealand run-getter Devon Conway feels his introduction to the international cricket arena a bit later in life is the reason for his ability to score runs in different conditions, as it has matured him as a player.
At 29 years of age, the opener became the second Kiwi batter to notch 200 in his maiden Test innings after Mathew Sinclair, who achieved the feat in 1999 against the West Indies. Conway’s double century came against England in the opening game of the two-Test series at Lord’s in June last year.
Having also scored centuries in both Tests against Bangladesh recently, Conway earned himself the ‘Player of the Series’ award, and as the International Cricket Council (ICC) released the 2021 Men’s Test Team of the Year on Thursday, he would have been fancying his chances of being in the side.
However, Conway, 30, was a notable absence from the line-up which had compatriots Kane Williamson and pace bowler Kyle Jamieson. Conway’s 623 runs off nine innings at an average of 69.22 has put him at the forefront of New Zealand’s batting line-up as he shows promise for the seasons ahead.
Speaking on his fine form, Conway said maturity was an key factor in his game.
“I’m pretty grateful for the fact that I have made my introduction to international cricket at quite a late stage,” Conway said on SENZ Breakfast on Friday.
“When I first met Kane Williamson, he said he thinks I am very fortunate to be one of the more mature students of the game, to come in and have a good base and understanding of my own game. He said he thought it would hold me in good stead in the future.
“I think if I played at a younger age, I wouldn’t have known my game as well as I do now,” added Conway.
On the pressures one faces as a newcomer in the side, Conway said that starting late had allowed him to “push those worries aside and focus on his the game”.
“I think it has been a blessing in disguise. The pressure that comes with international cricket may have gotten to me a little bit more if I had started younger.”
On the upcoming Test series against South Africa at home, Conway said, “I had a quiet word with Wags (Neil Wagner) in the changing rooms after the Christchurch Test, asking him what it’s like playing against them. He said, at the end of the day it’s just another team, just another game, that’s the way to look at it.
“He said (he) did receive a bit of chirp when he first played against them, but I think that was because they were probably playing against a really strong set up, guys like Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis and Dale Steyn. I do know a lot of the guys in their set up, so it will be very interesting to see if I do receive a bit of chirp, but I just have to remain focused and disciplined in my game and react accordingly.”
The two teams will square up for the first Test at Hagley Oval in Christchurch on February 17.