Jimmy Neesham was full of praise for his Wellington and Black Caps teammate Devon Conway, who carried New Zealand to victory thanks to a classy 99 against Australia in the first T20 of the series.
After an impressive domestic campaign and a few promising games for the Black Caps earlier in the year, Conway produced a T20I career-best 99 not out from just 59 balls on Monday, a statement that Neesham says more than proves his ability to become a permanent fixture in the international game.
"I think he's show quite evidently over the last month or so that he's got what it takes to succeed at the international level," Neesham said. "We've seen him churn out runs in the domestic circuit over the last four or five seasons that not a lot of people would have the ability to do.
"For him to come up at the international level earlier in the summer against West Indies and Pakistan and sort of take to it like a fish to water was pretty impressive. I just look forward to seeing him over the next few years to continue that run scoring.
"As someone batting five or six behind him it's obviously very nice to get a couple of runs on the board before you get out there."
The rise of Conway presents a dilemma for selectors with the level of depth available among the Black Caps' batting stocks, but Neesham believes his teammate has the ability to rise up the ranks in the squad.
"He certainly has the potential to open for the Black Caps. The way our team is set up at the moment, there's a lot of guys vying for those top three positions and I'm sure with a World Cup coming up at the end of the year and then another one not long after that, I'm sure he'll get an opportunity at some point."
Neesham also spoke about Conway's unique and often deceiving style, as exemplified by his hard-fought innings that came so agonisingly close to his first Black Caps ton.
"He's a unique kind of batsmen I guess. Sometimes he sort of looks like he's not that comfortable at the crease and looks like he's not timing the ball that well, but then you look at the scorecard and he's 50 off 40 and putting in a real good performance in for the team.
"I think the best thing about him as a guy who bats behind him is he doesn't give it away that often. He really grinds through those tough patches and like we saw [Monday] night.
"It probably took him 30 or 40 balls to actually start timing the ball really nicely. But then after that he really opened the game up for us. He allows us when he bats like that to get around him and really utilise that death phase to get us up to what ended up being easily enough runs."
Ultimately Neesham, who himself pitched in a valuable 26 off 15 against Australia, was happy to take out a "significant" win over their transtasman rivals.
"I think a lot has been made of the quarantine and the 14 days that Australia have just gone through but we've seen other teams around the world come out of quarantines and play really well in their first couple of games.
"We certainly weren't being complacent. We knew they'd come out and fire a few shots. I think we saw at the very beginning of the game, they put us under a lot of pressure and it was a bit of a testament to Dev (Conway) and the way he fought through that pressure and allowed us to get an above par score. And then Tim [Southee] and Trent [Boult] did what they do best and managed to break the game open for us."