SA’s loss is New Zealand’s gain, says Conway’s coach

BIPIN DANI

South Africa’s loss is New Zealand’s gain. That’s how Glenn Pocknall, the Firebird team coach described.

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The 28-year-old SA-born wicket-keeper batsman Deven Conway has been cleared by the ICC to play for New Zealand.

“He came to NZ for a new start and cricket wasn’t necessarily the main motivation. It was having a quality life. No family here just moved here with his partner,” the coach Glenn Pocknall, speaking exclusively over telephone from Wellington, said.

Interestingly, Conway had a “miserable” First Class debut. In 2009, playing for Gauteng, he was out for a duck (against Easterns).

“Yeah, it came long way from that,” the coach said.

“We receive 100s of players saying they coming every season and the first point we look at is there domestic record, if they even have one….When we heard Devon was coming and looked at his statistics from SA we thought someone was having us on…. His record was outstanding and had just come off a double Ton in one of his last innings.”

“He didn’t walk into our team and it wasn’t till our keeper (Tom Blundell) got injured that he got a chance. You could see straight away he was a very good player. The pitches in NZ slightly different to those of SA so he received some great mentoring and coaching from Luke Woodcock (current Wellington Firebirds batting coach and formerly played with Devon here) about some subtle changes he needed to make.”

“In a short space of time and some hard work he turned himself into an even better player and dominated First Class cricket for the last two seasons. His 327 * this season was against two BLACKCAP Test bowlers in Matt Henry and Todd Astle.”

“He’s a very good badminton player too however have to curb his enthusiasm for that to save his arms and shoulders for batting out in the middle,” the coach further added.

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