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WTC: Kiwi batsman Devon Conway warms up for India with kitty litter on pitch

Kolkata: The World Test Championship final in England may still be a good one month away, but New Zealand batsman Devon Conway has devised an ‘original’ plan to take on the Indian spinner - by sprinkling some kitty litter on practice wickets.

Conway has been selected for New Zealand’s tour of England, which starts with a two-Test series against Joe Root’s side followed by the inaugural Test Championship final against India in Southampton from June 18. There are plenty of quality spin options in the Indian team like Ravi Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel and Washington Sundar.

The 29-year-old lefthander, who will bid to make his Test debut on the tour, hopes playing the ball off kitty litter might help prepare for the variation of spin off bowlers’ footmarks.

“Basically the idea is to get the ball to sort of spit out of the rough,” Conway told New Zealand broadcaster Spark Sport after throwing some kitty litter on a pitch.

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“It’s a bit harder to play, but good practice ... It’s about finding a gameplan to combat that and just practice how you’re going to play in the game.

“When it does roughen up and the ball does spit and turn a lot, it’s all about being positive.” New Zealand play the first Test against England in London on June 2.

Allrounder Daryl Mitchell and wicketkeeper Glenn Phillips have been offered national contracts for the first time by New Zealand Cricket (NZC), while batsman Ajaz Patel was left out of the 20-man list for 2021-22.

New Zealand’s most successful Test wicketkeeper BJ Watling was also omitted after announcing his retirement from all forms of cricket after the team’s tour of England.

Mitchell, the son of the England rugby team’s assistant coach John Mitchell, was rewarded for scoring his maiden Test and One-day International centuries this year. Phillips excelled in Twenty20 cricket, smashing a 46-ball century against the West Indies in November - the fastest by a New Zealander in the shortest format of the game.

NZ contract list: Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Devon Conway, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, James Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, Kane Williamson, Will Young.