Anton Devcich is another opening option for the New Zealand Blackcaps in the shorter form of the game, and it may only be a matter of time until his presence in the team becomes regular.
Devcich has been around a lot longer than most cricket followers realise. It wasn’t too long ago that the Northern Knights opener was just another young cricketer trying to make his way through the club scene in Hamilton. Now, he is an integral part of the Northern Knights line-up and is a dominant force at the top of the order in Twenty20 cricket.
Devcich is also a handy orthodox spin bowler, averaging a wicket per spell of bowling and best T20 figures of 4/19 for the Northern Knights.
Having made his debut for New Zealand back in 2013, Devcich has always been there or thereabouts in terms of getting a place in the team and is currently waiting in the wings for an opportunity to become a regular in the international squad. When he has played for New Zealand, he has impressed, surprisingly more with the ball than the bat, including a clutch performance with the ball against Pakistan in the UAE.
With Brendon McCullum’s potential retirement at the end of this summer, Devcich is in a good position to be given a real shot at being New Zealand’s next big aggressor at the top of the order. You could compare his aggression in the opening role to that of Jesse Ryder. Ryder is seemingly an outcast with all involved with the national side, and Devcich is far more likely to be given the opportunity.
Devcich would be the perfect fit at the top of the order alongside Martin Guptill. By providing the expansive shots and high scoring rate, he would leave no pressure on Guptill to change his approach in anyway, which would only benefit his game. The Blackcaps batting line-up is more solid than it has ever been and it can afford an aggressive, some would say reckless, approach, because the middle order features the likes of Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor, two batsmen who can balance aggression and patience at the crease.
The Blackcaps selectors want an aggressor to partner Guptill at the top of the order: a batsmen who can hit 30-50 quick runs and set the run rate high early in the innings. This kind of batting is especially important in Twenty20 cricket. Like McCullum, the 30-year-old Devcich will be the perfect fit alongside Guptill at the top of the order and exactly in the mould that the team would want.
His record representing New Zealand at each age group level proves it. Apart from playing for the Blackcaps on a handful of occasions, Devcich is a regular in the New Zealand “A” squad and also represented the New Zealand U-19 and New Zealand XI squads earlier in his career.
Devcich was rumoured to have almost signed with the Central Stags for this season – according to “talk on the street”, as it were, anyway. The Knights never commented publicly on this and, for the time being, Devcich is still wearing the pink kit for the Knights over the New Zealand domestic summer.
Devcich’s highest first-class score is 132, but his highest international score is a modest 27, something which could change very quickly if he is given the chance to nail down a starting spot in the Blackcaps side. It looks as though the days of finding a suitable match at the top of the order could be over for the Blackcaps. Look for Devcich to be a regular part of New Zealand’s international side sooner rather than later