Cricket: Blackcaps coach Gary Stead all but confirms Devon Conway's selection for tour of England

Blackcaps coach Gary Stead has all but confirmed rising star Devon Conway to be part of the 20-man extended squad to England. 

Conway has taken to international cricket like a duck to water with a dominant display in the ODI series against Bangladesh with a century and a 50 in his first three innings. 

It wasn't just 50-over cricket where he dominated, in the shortest format of the game, he's averaging 59.12 from 11 innings that include four 50s, with two being match-winning knocks against Australia and the Tigers. 

The last step for the 29-year-old is to wear the black baggy in the longest form of the game and after his impressive summer, Stead has all but confirmed that he is one step closer to achieving that milestone if he has his way. 

"Look, you guys have all seen how Devon's played this year and I want him part of that test squad definitely," Stead says.

One issue that could complicate Conway's selection is he's yet to become a permanent resident in New Zealand and only citizens and permanent residents are allowed to enter the country while COVID-19 border restrictions apply. 

"I'm not sure, to be honest, I think it's still in the pipeline but my understanding is that Devon's been spoken to and there is hope everything will be in place before that," he says. 

The Blackcaps will likely name their 20-man squad for the tour of England on Thursday but only 15 can be selected for the Test Championship final against India, so the pressure for places will be on. 

"The way we've done it is we've gone through and selected what we think our 11 is likely to be, or our 12 or 13, depending on conditions, and then tried to look at making sure we've got cover for each of those spots as well," Stead says. 

"There will still be people who will be disappointed and feel unlucky to have missed the squad and I think that's a great thing about the depth that we are showing in New Zealand at the moment.

"It's an exciting group that's going over there, and it's a group that has also proven themselves over a period of time and shown that we can compete with all the teams around the world." 

There is a chance three key frontline players - Kane Williamson, Trent Boult and Kyle Jamieson - could miss the opening test against the hosts due to quarantine requirements after competing in the IPL in India. 

This could open the door if selected, for Conway to make his test debut and press his claim for selection in the final against India. 

The Blackcaps will open their tour with a warm-up game against Somerset before two tests against England starting on June 2 before the Test Championship final starting on June 18.