Dhoni, bat weights and the IPL: Conway's game growing in India

Devon Conway is one of the best players of this edition of the IPL.

The Black Caps batsman has amassed impressive numbers opening for the Chennai Super Kings, scoring 625 runs at an average of 52.08 with six half centuries.

He's again contributed in their playoff win over the Gujarat Titans, with 40 off 34, taking them to the final on Monday (NZT).

"Personally, it's been a very good IPL for me so far," the always modest Conway admits.

"If you asked me, at this stage of the tournament I'd be sitting on these sort of numbers I'd certainly take it with both hands."

Devon Conway.

Through those performances and consistent game time, he's also been able to get some valuable insight into Indian conditions. With the World Cup fast-approaching, every visit to a different ground is beneficial.

"Getting a feel for different grounds, there are subtle changes when you go from one stadium to another. For example Chennai's been a slightly slower wicket and has helped the spinners, as well as a ground like Lucknow and you see the scores fluctuate," Conway explains.

"On the flipside to that when you go to Bangalore or Mumbai the scores are different on surfaces that are very nice to bat on."

It's those subtle changes that Conway's trying to master, with a little help from one of India's greatest.

Even someone at the 31-year-old's level is still learning on occasions, evident through advice from his current captain, retired international MS Dhoni.

Devon Conway looks on during an IPL match.

"Learning from a guy like MS Dhoni how they change bats is not something I've ever known, how they change on different surfaces. If it's coming onto the bat nicely they'll use slightly lighter bats and if it's slightly slower they'll get some heavier willows out into the middle."

Conway heeded the advice so much, he made a trip to his bat manufacturer SS when in Delhi less than a week ago. He worked with the makers to get a couple of different bats at ever-so-subtly different weights.

"Some of my lighter bats will be no heavier than 2.8lbs, whereas the two new ones that I got are slightly heavier, just over 2.9lbs. I'm not a big guy - guys like Martin Guptill or Jimmy Neesham would probably use way heavier bats - but for me that would make a significant difference to some of the lighter bats in my bag."

He'll be able to put the theory to the test one more time in this edition of the IPL with the Super Kings awaiting either Gujarat, Lucknow or Mumbai in the decider.


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