How Devon Conway Improved His Game Playing With Ruturaj Gaikwad, MS Dhoni

The Kiwi keeper-opener, player of the match against Australia in ICC T20 World Cup 2022, said opening with Ruturaj Gaikwad and watching MS Dhoni at CSK helped him get better.

Devon Conway hits one through off side against Australia in ICC T20 World Cup 2022 on Saturday.

Devon Conway, player of the match in New Zealand’s emphatic win over Australia in the ICC T20 World Cup 2022, has come a long way from his starting days in South Africa. And two people who have been instrumental in his rise are MS Dhoni and Ruturaj Gaikwad. (More Cricket News)  

Going into the World Cup, the 31-year-old keeper-batsman said he had learnt a lot about the art of opening in T20 from Gaikwad, his teammate at Chennai Super Kings. Where keeping is concerned, he learnt how to keep his hands relaxed from watching CSK and India icon MS Dhoni.  

On Saturday, October 22, Conway batted the entire innings for an unbeaten, 58-ball 92 at the Sydney Cricket Ground in the first Super 12 encounter of the T20 World Cup.  

Speaking to a few days ago, he said, “I'm very happy to get the opportunity at the top of the order [for New Zealand]. I have a fair bit of experience batting up the order, especially for Wellington, and getting the opportunity to open the batting alongside Ruturaj Gaikwad at Chennai Super Kings and learning from him there, and also from Martin Guptill, who has played so much international cricket.” 

Conway’s rise has been nothing short of inspirational. When the South African born cricketer decided to take a leap of faith and move to New Zealand, he had to sell his house, his car, his property and leave everything behind that was synonymous with home at the age of 26.  

The pursuit of a career in cricket turned into pursuit of runs as Conway’s hunger to make a mark on the field kept on growing. Finally, the cricketing gods rewarded him for his effort and determination. He has now become a regular in all three formats of the game for the Black Caps. 

As a keeper, a crucial dropped catch had made Conway an anxious figure behind the stumps. That’s when he took a leaf from the Dhoni book.  

“I experienced that [nervousness] when I dropped a very important catch,” Conway said in the interview. “It sort of made me feel like I was nervous as a keeper. It made my hands feel stiff and tense. The most important thing as a keeper is… if you look at MS Dhoni, who has been one of the best keepers in world cricket, is how relaxed his hands are, how quick they are when he takes the ball to the stumps. That's a key thing and it's very important as a keeper to keep wanting the ball to come through and keep expecting it to come through.”