New Zealand batter signs for nine T20 Blast games, two County Championship fixtures
Somerset have signed Devon Conway as an overseas player for the second half of the T20 Blast’s group stage.
Conway appeared for the county’s second XI as an unknown South African in 2010, when he was spending the summer playing club cricket for Taunton Deane, and had another brief trial with the club in 2013. He will return as a New Zealand international, and as the No. 4 T20I batter in the world according to the ICC’s rankings following his decision to leave South Africa and “start afresh” in 2017.
Conway has been named in New Zealand’s Test squad for their tour to the UK in June, which comprises two fixtures against England and the inaugural World Test Championship final against India at the Ageas Bowl. There had been concerns about Conway’s safe return to New Zealand under international travel restrictions, but his residency visa was approved last month meaning he will be able to travel home safely.
It is anticipated that he will be available for nine group-stage games, as well as Somerset’s final two fixtures in the County Championship’s initial group stage: against Leicestershire on July 4, and away against Surrey on July 11.
“Somerset has a very good reputation and I’m excited to be joining the team for a key part of the season,” Conway said. “England is one of the places where everyone wants to test their skills during the summer and hopefully, I can positively contribute to success in the Vitality Blast and the County Championship.”
New Zealand players have been popular among counties ahead of this season’s Blast, on account of the break in their international schedule following the WTC final: Conway joins Finn Allen (Lancashire), Colin de Grandhomme (Hampshire), Lockie Ferguson (Yorkshire), James Neesham (Essex) and Glenn Phillips (Gloucestershire) in the competition.
Somerset have employed Babar Azam as one of their overseas players for the last two T20 Blast seasons, but the rescheduled Pakistan Super League and Pakistan’s limited-overs tour of England forced them to look elsewhere for a top-order batsman. Marchant de Lange, the South African fast bowler, is their other overseas player for the Blast.
Andy Hurry, Somerset’s director of cricket, said: “With so much international cricket being played at this time, and with England playing ODIs and T20Is against both Sri Lanka and Pakistan during the Vitality Blast this year, we have been working behind the scenes to identify and secure the right player for us.
“I’ve followed Devon’s career closely and have been really excited at seeing his International career explode in recent months.”
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98
Source: ESPN Crickinfo