Blackcaps paceman Lockie Ferguson attributes his superb recent form to his work with a man he calls a Kiwi sports "hero".
Fresh off career-best figures of 5-45 in the rain-abandoned third one-day international against Pakistan on Monday (NZ time), Ferguson said former NZ fast bowling great Shane Bond had been a big factor in mastering in the unforgiving UAE conditions.
Bond is a coach with the New Zealand A side, who Ferguson played for in a recent T20 series against the Pakistani A.
- One-day series drawn, third match abandoned
- Fast bowler Lockie Ferguson concerned for fallen rival
- Pakistan crush Blackcaps by six wickets in second ODI
"He's a bit of an NZ hero," said Ferguson. "I guess my action's a little modelled on his.
"It was great having him as our head coach for New Zealand A. We had a lot of great chats with him - working out different ways to attack batters in these conditions, where perhaps we don’t get the pace and bounce we do back home.
The 27-year-old was arguably the Blackcaps' best through the drawn ODI series against Pakistan. He took a total of 11 wickets at an average of 12.8 runs and was consistently hitting the 150 km/h mark, signs that bode well a year out from the World Cup.
"I've played quite a bit of cricket leading up to this in the UK and it's nice to be able to have a bit of a stint in the T20, which is a bit lighter on the body. The rhythm's feeling good.
"The most pleasing aspect is that the things I've been working on in the nets over the winter are working out in the middle.
"That's all you can hope for, just small improvements."
Ferguson said he'd discovered a new level of confidence in his play, since his debut at the elite level in 2016.
"When you first start international cricket, it's obviously quite nerve-wrecking - adjusting yourself to playing against the best players in the world
"But then having played a few games, you start to learn about yourself and that you have the ability to compete at this level."
While he won't remain with the squad that moves on to the three-test series, Ferguson believes the overall standard of NZ's fast bowling stocks is forcing his own play to rapidly improve.
"We've got a bowling attack that’s done a great job for the last three years and to be put in the same ranks as them is an honour to start with.
"If test cricket looks to come my way in the near future then I'll grab it with open arms, but at this stage, it's a tough team to make and that’s a good thing for New Zealand cricket.
"The competition within NZ fast bowling at the moment is exceptional, which only makes us better as a whole."
At this rate, he could find himself donning the whites sooner than he thought.