Within three years of his international debut, Devon Conway has become an indispensable part of the New Zealand set-up across formats and will be a crucial player to the two-time runner-up’s chances at the World Cup starting on Thursday.
While he started with a duck against Pakistan last week in the first warm-up game, he got back on track by top-scoring (78 retired) against South Africa in the second game in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday.
The opener comes into the tournament with a good record in the subcontinent, having scored two ODI tons this year, one each against Pakistan and India, apart from a highly productive IPL for Chennai Super Kings.
The South African-born Kiwi opener has shown a remarkable ability to succeed on slow-paced pitches and feels how his team adapts to these conditions will be the biggest challenge.
“I think, obviously, we are looking to adapt to the surfaces as they may differ in different parts of the country. We try to hold on to our partnerships as best as possible and have clear communication throughout the game with bat or ball. Those are some areas where we can keep learning and improving on each game,” said Conway to The Hindu on the takeaways from the team’s two wins in the warm-up games.
Explaining his approach to batting in the subcontinent, Conway said, “For me, it is about understanding that the surface will be slower and have less bounce. So I just looked to play straighter as long as possible and find ways to put bowlers under pressure and score.
“If you are limited here, you often get stuck. Having the sweep shot or run down and playing straight in your locker has been crucial to score in these conditions,” he added.
When asked if there is an added determination within the team this time, considering it could be the last World Cup for members of the team who were part of the previous two finals, the 32-year-old said, “Yeah! I think so. If we cast our minds to four years ago, we got so close to crossing the line.
“We have many players who were involved in that game and have been part of World Cups previously. So we are very motivated, as all teams will be. We are keen to try to go one further this year, but we don’t look too far ahead as a group and put pressure on ourselves.”