South African born and raised Devon Conway is owning the T20 arena in New Zealand. He is the latest in a list of South Africans to shine in the colours of the Black Caps.
Conway thrilled against Australia in smashing 99 not out off 59 balls, at a strike rate of 168.9. In his seven international T20 matches, he has scored 50-plus three times, averages 91 and is batting at a strike rate of 156.
Conway is also the first New Zealand player to score five successive 50-plus scores in T20, being not out in his last four innings’. Conway’s 99 not out for the Black Caps in Christchurch earlier this week, was preceded with scores of 93 not out, 91 not out, 69 not out and 50 not out when playing for Wellington.
Conway, who is 29 years-old, is the 28th South African-born player to represent another country in international cricket.
Conway, who played for Gauteng Schools, made his First Class debut for the Lions and his T20 debut for the Dolphins in 2009 and 2011 respectively. None of his debut innings lasted long, with him scoring 12 off 11 balls in his T20 debut.
He opened in all formats on debut, with scores of 12, 0 and 6 in the shortened and longer forms of the game.
His success, since moving to New Zealand, has been as a top order batsman.
For those who don’t know Conway’s story, here it is:
Conway, a left-handed batsman, made his first-class debut for Gauteng in 2009 and moved to Wellington, New Zealand in 2017. In his three seasons playing for Wellington he scored 1,598 runs at an average of 72.63. In the 2019-20 season Conway was the leading batsman in all three formats of New Zealand’s professional domestic game. He scored 701 runs at an average of 87.62 in the first-class Plunket Shield, scored 553 runs at 55.30 in the List A Ford Trophy and 543 runs at 67.87 in the T20 Super Smash.
His 2020/21 season is proving equally spectacular.
Conway had the unique distinction of being awarded a national Black Caps New Zealand contract before even becoming eligible to play for the country.
Several South African cricketers are starring in New Zealand. Some were born in South Africa but were raised in New Zealand, while others like Neil Wagner, Grant Elliot and Conway were schooled in South Africa, played professional cricket in South Africa and then moved to New Zealand.
One of the more interesting articles on the Saffas in New Zealand cricket was written by thespinoff.co.za‘s Alex Braae.
He asked the question: who would win between SA-born cricketers contracted in New Zealand and the rest of the Black Caps? In many of the specialist areas, he said it was too close to call and while he felt the New Zealand-born players would ultimately triumph, the quality of his selected SA-born team showcased the South African influence in New Zealand cricket.
So, why do SA-born and raised players opt for an international cricket future elsewhere?
During South Africa’s international sporting isolation, the motivation was to play internationalcricket. Post South Africa’s return to international cricket in 1991, it can be summarised as players moving to another country because of professional contracts and then committing to the country of residence, alternatively players whose parents moved and they grew up in the system of the only place they call home.
What it does tell us is that we, in South Africa, produce some pretty impressive cricketers, even if we never get to see them playing for the Proteas.
Current SA-born NZ XI (in batting order): BJ Watling, Malcolm Nofal, Devon Conway, Chad Bowes, Craig Cachopa, Colin Munro, Michael Rippon, Glen Phillips, Neil Wagner, Warren Barnes and Danru Ferns.