Sydney Thunder’s Anton Devcich wants to get back in the New Zealand team in time for next year’s T20 World Cup. Picture: Getty Images
Sydney Thunder’s Anton Devcich wants to get back in the New Zealand team in time for next year’s T20 World Cup. Picture: Getty Images

Long road to World Cup for Thunder’s new recruit

SYDNEY Thunder's new recruit Anton Devcich isn't your typical New Zealand cricketer.

He's always preferred to take the road less travelled.

And he's just left his homeland to join the Big Bash because he hopes it will help him return to Australia next year - that's kind of the way he rolls.

His logic is sounder than it seems. The all-rounder wants to get back in the New Zealand team in time for next year's T20 World Cup, being staged in Australia, but with so much competition for places, he decided to take a punt and do something different from everyone else to try to stand out from the pack.

So he turned down the security of a domestic contract in New Zealand to play in as many different T20 leagues around the world, including the Afghan, Caribbean and Canadian competitions.

"When you're contracted for your own country, you play with the same players week in, week out, so you know them all so well and you know exactly where you're going to be," he told The Daily Telegraph.

"But by concentrating on white-ball cricket, I've been able to play in all these different leagues, where you're playing different guys every week and in different countries who play different styles of cricket, so you're basically just having to adapt to the way they play.

"It's not easy but the main thing I've got out of the last 12-18 months is just the diversity of playing in different environments and different conditions, which I think I've benefited from it."

The 33-year-old joined the Thunder for a specific reason - to get back into the Kiwi team after being out of the side for more than four years. And he's off to a great start.

In his first game, against the Sixers on Sunday, he belted three boundaries and a six in making 21 off just 12 balls, then took a wicket in his first over as the Thunder posted just their second win in their last six matches to storm back into finals contention.

A rare commodity who opens the batting and bowling, Devcich was man of the match in his last game for the Kiwis before being struck down by injury. He then couldn't get back in. But he thinks playing for the Thunder could be the key.

Not only has he impressed the Thunder's Kiwi coach Shane Bond, but he also believes that playing well in the Big Bash will enhance his prospects of winning selection for the World Cup.

"When I signed with the Thunder, Bondy discussed that very thing with me," he said.

"I was sort of treading water a little bit in New Zealand … I was playing well but to play international cricket you've got to be pretty exceptional and I haven't played a lot of cricket in Australia. So there's no better way to get some experience against Australians in their own conditions."

 

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