South African born & raised Black Cap Devon Conway arrived in New Zealand as a 26 year-old, averaging just 21.29 in 12 matches for the Lions. On Thursday, he scored 200 on Test debut against England at Lords, having scored a ODI 100 in just his 3rd innings for his adopted country and an unbeaten 99 in his first international T20 season. Incredible.
Conway, who started Thursday on 136 not out, opened the innings and was the last wicket to fall, when run out for 200. He had put on 40 for the final wicket with Neil Wagner, another South African-born & raised Black Cap.
This article is simply about applauding Devon Conway’s brilliance and lauding a story that could have read journeyman but instead reads giant.
If you go to Cricinfo
and type in Devon Conway, this is what you will read:
, Johannesburg, March 2017. Devon Conway
, 26, brought up his maiden first-class double-century for Gauteng at the provincial level and roared in jubilation. It was the first in eight years of professional cricket for the left-hand batsman. The innings should have heralded a new beginning. Instead, it marked closure. That was the last innings Conway played as a South African domestic cricketer. That August, he left South Africa for his new home – New Zealand.
‘While he scored heavily at the provincial level, the second tier of South African domestic cricket, he struggled to make an impression in his sporadic appearances in top-tier franchise cricket. At the time of leaving, he had played just 12 matches for the Lions, averaging 21.29 with a solitary half-century.
‘I was always in and out of the team,” he says over a video call from Wellington, where he lives. ‘I didn’t have a secure spot. I was also batting in different positions. In the T20s, I would open. In the one-dayers, I’d bat at No. 5. In the four-dayers, I’d probably be in if someone was left out.
‘I’ve batted in all sorts of positions, sometimes even No. 7. I wouldn’t bowl either. Lack of clarity and my own inconsistency pushed me down the pecking order. I wouldn’t have been able to push my case forward, so I thought it was best to move.’
So much has changed for Conway after he made the move to New Zealand, including a first class triple century and owning every run-scoring list in New Zealand’s domestic game.
Conway’s runs appetite was such that he was awarded a national contract a few months before he was eligible to play for the New Zealanders.
He is such a wonderful success story of someone who left his comforts in South Africa for a change of environment and a challenge to make it as a professional cricketer.
And he has his wife to thank for making the move.
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.
The lesson here: Never stop working and never stop dreaming.
Also, sometimes you have to move to make it.
Devon Conway is an inspiration of what is possible. He is also an example of how poor selection, in not knowing where to bat a player, can stifle or end a career and good selection can be the saving of a career.
SA-born’s ‘Dashing Devon’ brutal for the Black Caps
The New Zealand media on Conway