South Africa-born Devon Conway now on NZ contracts list

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — South Africa-born batsman Devon Conway has been included on New Zealand Cricket’s list of contracted players for the 2020-21 season three months before becoming eligible to play for the Black Caps.

The 28-year-old Johannesburg-born player, now playing for Wellington province, was the leading scorer in New Zealand domestic cricket last season across all the formats, scoring more than 1,800 runs.

Conway moved to New Zealand from South Africa in 2017 and becomes eligible for international selection in August. He is one of three newcomers on the contracts list announced Friday by New Zealand coach Gary Stead and selector Gavin Larsen.

Tall fast bowler Kyle Jamieson, who made an outstanding start to his international career in test and white ball matches last season, and spinner Ajaz Patel are the other newly-contracted players.

Leg-spinner Todd Astle, who has retired from test cricket, hard-hitting white ball batsman Colin Munro and test opener Jeet Raval are the players omitted from last season’s list. Raval’s omission follows his spectacular loss of form last season. Tom Blundell has since taken over Raval’s place at the top of the order.

Left-hander Conway bats at No. 3 for Wellington and likely will challenge Henry Nicholls for a place in the New Zealand top-order.

“Devon’s form with the bat across all three formats these past two seasons made him impossible to ignore and he’s going to be a great option to add to the batting mix,” Larsen said. “Kyle’s performances against the might of India were nothing short of outstanding and at 25 years of age he’s certainly got a big future.

“We see Ajaz as the incumbent test spinner at present and he’ll be looking to stamp his mark on that spot after some strong efforts with the ball in the sub-continent.”

In compiling the list the selectors rank players from 1-20 on the likelihood of them featuring in international matches in the coming season, with tests carrying a higher weighting than one-day or Twenty20 internationals. Players on the list receive retainers of between US$146,000 for the top-ranked player to US$62,000 for No. 20.

Captain Kyle Williamson usually takes the No. 1 ranking.

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New Zealand contracted players: Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Devon Conway, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Jimmy Neesham, Ajaz Patel, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, B.J. Watling, Kane Williamson, Will Young.

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