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New Zealander Devon Conway hopes to emulate his remarkable first double tone at Lord’s against England

New Zealander Devon Conway hopes to emulate his remarkable first double tone at Lord’s against England

If New Zealand’s Devon Conway needed a reminder that he could play a little, he got it this week as he walked into the visitors’ locker room at Lord’s.

Conway has just seven Tests in his career, but there was confirmation on the wall that he had already made history: almost exactly a year ago he became the first player to score a double century on his Test debut in the land of cricket. Although he is phlegmatic, he still absorbs it.

“I had a moment of that the other day,” he says. sports mail. “I walked into the locker room and saw my name on the honor roll again. It brought back some of those memories of what a great start it was.

And it really was, not least because he had set the bar low, promising his teammates he would recognize them on the balcony if he got his first ball.

“Broady kicked one outside, and I let it go – I’ll never forget it: it’s true, I crossed my first ball in Test cricket, which was a pretty special feeling . And then it was about getting in the game.’

A born and bred South African, Conway has clearly mastered the native euphemism of his adopted country: “get in the game” turned into a nine-and-a-half-hour epic. On his last 200 outing, he had New Zealand’s highest score at Lord’s since Martin Donnelly in 1949.

New Zealand striker Devon Conway (pictured) returns to Lord’s, the site of his first double century against England in 2021, on Thursday for the first test against the same opponents

Conway wrote his name on cricket’s home honors roll with the stunning shot

And the 30-year-old gave Sportsmail’s Paul Newman an exclusive pre-game interview

The day before his debut, he had tried to calm down at Regents Park, anxiously asking teammate Tom Blundell about the challenges of Test cricket.

Now he looked natural – and followed it up with 80 in Edgbaston, where New Zealand picked up their first series victory in England since 1999.

Shortly after, he completed a crucial half-century at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton as New Zealand won a low-scoring World Test Championship final against India. By then, he was pretty much done responding to all the congratulatory text messages. He describes the experience as “shattering”.

Conway has since cemented his status as one of New Zealand’s top all-format players. He has an average of 63 in Tests, 75 in ODIs and 50 in T20 Internationals, and is determined never to be cataloged. An opener on the Test debut, he has since moved to No 3 to accommodate Will Young. Frankly, he would hit anywhere.

Basically, his story is one of delayed gratification. He and his wife, Kim, left South Africa in 2017 – Conway signed for Gauteng with an unbeaten double century – and headed to New Zealand, which he said offered a better chance to play in the international cricket.

Conway made it half a century as New Zealand won the World Test Championship final against India

But it wasn’t always easy – he was in tears after breaking his right hand hitting his bat when he was sent off in the T20 World Cup semi-final, ruling him out of the final against Australia.

A three-year qualifying spell followed: playing for Wellington, he made an unanswerable case, hitting a double-hundred one season, a triple the next. At the time of his Lord’s debut, he was almost 30 years old – and full of self-knowledge.

“It definitely helped,” he says. “If I had made my debut at 23 or 24, I can never say what would have happened. I don’t think I would have known my game as well. The learning curve was a blessing.

“I will probably only play until I am 36 or 38. The trip won’t be very long, but I hope it will be good. It’s about enjoying every moment.

That philosophy was bizarrely interrupted last year, when Conway broke his right hand hitting his bat after being stunned by Liam Livingstone in the T20 World Cup semi-final against England at Abu Dhabi.

The news of the fracture, which ruled him out of the final against Australia, brought him to tears in front of his teammates – but it sharpened his concentration.

But this setback sharpened his concentration and underscored the need to enjoy every moment while playing

Conway has given his opinion on new England Tests coach, New Zealander Brendon McCullum

“It will be something I will live with for a long time, the regret of missing a T20 World Cup final,” he said. “I was very disappointed in myself.

“I’m not usually one of the guys who gets really upset when I go out. I’ll never throw away my kit. It was just a crazy moment. The learning I took from it was to try to control your emotions in the heat of the moment.

The immediate battle is Thursday’s first test against an England now coached by a New Zealand legend. Will the Brendon McCullum factor add spice?

“Yes and no,” Conway said. “A lot of guys have a great relationship with Baz. We’re very happy for him that he got the opportunity to coach England, but it makes us want to prove a point, just to try to put him under pressure. early.

The Lord’s Honors council may not have seen the last of Conway.

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