Just when some of New Zealand cricket’s batting stars are showing their age, Devon Conway, Daryl Mitchell and Finn Allen have shown they’re more than ready to fill their boots.
Not that we want to rush dropping stalwarts whose consistency is not what it used to be.
But I don’t fully go along with those who claim form is temporary whereas class is forever.
Age does take its toll.
Still this summer Henry Nicholls and Martin Guptill bounced back from lean domestic pickings to show their class at international level when needed most.
Absolutely astounding has been the brilliance shown by former South African Conway and Kyle Jamieson with bat and ball respectively at a time when New Zealand’s depth has never looked greater.
At 37, Ross Taylor, our test and ODI highest run scorer, is also struggling to maintain his former brilliance.
That would be a major concern were it not for the almost nonchalant brilliance South African-born Conway brings to the game as seen during his ODI 159-run fourth wicket partnership with Mitchell against Bangladesh at the Basin Reserve when both scored centuries.
Regarded as an all-rounder despite being a far better batsman than he is a bowler, Mitchell has filled the gap left by the injured Colin de Grandhomme who is the better bowler.
While a golden duck sadly blighted 21-year-old Finn Allen’s Twenty20 international debut against Bangladesh at Hamilton’s Seddon Park on Sunday, Conway blazed his way to an unbeaten 92 in registering his fourth unbeaten 50 in his 10th T20 international.
What made it more amazing was that it took his average to an incredible 65.42 runs which surpassed second best Indian legend Virat Kohli’s 52.65 and shattered former top Black Cap Brendan McCullum’s 35.60.
If that doesn’t tell you Conway, at age 29, is something special, nothing will.
Meanwhile there was also much to like about 28-year-old Will Young’s aggressive 53 from 28 balls before being caught on the boundary and 24-year-old Glenn Phillips 24 from 10.
Chasing 210, Bangladesh were never in the hunt and finished 66 runs behind for the loss of eight wickets.
Meanwhile aided by the Blues’ stupidity in failing to take six kickable penalties, the Chiefs backed up their Super Rugby Aotearoa win against the Hurricanes with a last minute 15-12 win thanks to another Damian McKenzie special.
Once again No 8 Luke Jacobson also produced a top game in helping set up McKenzie’s winning converted try although Hoskins Sotutu lost nothing in comparison with him.
For a few moments it looked as though tigerish blindside flanker replacement Tom Robinson had stolen the game for the Blues with an excellent try upon replacing Akira Ioane.
With Dalton Papalii, Ioane and Sotutu forming a strong loose forward combination, Robinson is too good to be left on the reserves bench for so long and needs to be promoted to lock to partner captain Patrick Tuipulotu.
Meanwhile having been overshadowed by McKenzie the previous weekend, rangy Hurricanes fullback Jordie Barrett failed to put a foot wrong in scoring three tries and 15 points from the boot to notch all 30 points in his team’s 30-19 win against the Highlanders at Dunedin.
- Ivan Agnew is an award-winning sports writer