World Test Championship: Blackcaps sensation Devon Conway credits captain Kane Williamson after NZ Cricket awards

Breakout Blackcaps star Devon Conway could barely believe his phone, as he worked his way through the flood of congratulatory messages, after his big night at the NZ Cricket Awards.

The 29-year-old took home a pair of prizes, named International Men's ODI Player of the Year and International Men's T20 Player of the Year - just reward for one of the most remarkable rookie campaigns in NZ cricket history.

One of the first messages of support came from captain Kane Williamson - fresh off claiming the Sir Richard Hadlee medal for the fourth time in six years - in a minor case of the student becoming the teacher that left Conway bemused.

"It's funny, he sent a message to me saying, 'It's been awesome to watch you play and learn'," Conway recalls with a grin. "I giggled and I said, 'Come on mate, there's nothing you haven't learned'.

"But that's just the person he is, and it's been great to get to know him and watch him.

"It was pretty awesome to receive those awards last night. I'm pretty stoked with how things have gone. 

"It's been a pretty special summer for me and obviously for the Blackcaps as well."

The prodigious batsman burst onto the international scene this summer, solidifying his spot in the Blackcaps Twenty20 and one-day sides, before earning a call-up for a likely test debut during the upcoming tour to England.

Conway's rise has been meteoric to say the least and he's quick to acknowledge the impact his new skipper - incidentally, the world's No.1 test batsman - has already had on his development.

"I was fortunate enough to bat in the net with him at the Mount during the winter and it was two completely different players," says Conway. "We're facing the same bowlers and one was certainly playing a lot better than the other.

"It just shows you what an amazing cricketer he is - if not one of the best ever. Just to be in and around his presence is pretty awesome.

"It's a great opportunity for me, as a batsman, to learn from him."

Williamson's attention to detail has made the biggest impression on Conway to date.

"I can't really emulate the way he plays because he's so good," he admits. "But you take the small things and you see how well he does those small things, like playing the ball late, having a good position. 

"His head is always still… the amount of time he's got playing a ball, it's just incredible.

"Just learning from him and being able to watch him up close is pretty awesome."

Since his elevation to the international arena on the back of his undeniable domestic form for Wellington Firebirds, the South African native has smashed 473 T20 runs at an average of 59 (strike rate 151), with four half-centuries and a top-score of 99 not out against Australia.

But for as much as Conway has savoured his dizzying ascent, he’s felt the effect of the unique psychological demands that come with cricket at the highest level.

With the England tour and the World Test Championship final against India on the horizon, Conway looks forward to a much-needed recharge.

"With the mental pressure throughout international cricket, it's a lot greater than what I've experienced in the past," he says. "We're going to have a good 2-3 week break, so I'll get away from cricket, try and mentally refresh, and then just get into training

"I’ll head into those camps at Lincoln nice and refreshed, and ready for what's to come."

Make no mistake, Conway is salivating at the prospect of a test debut to round out his holy trinity of international honours. 

With several seasons of county cricket under his belt, his familiarity with the conditions - and the Duke ball - may prove invaluable to both his fortunes and those of the Blackcaps.

"It's about doing what I've done in the past, preparing how I normally would, and not looking too far ahead and putting too much pressure on myself," Conway says of his potential debut in whites. "I just have to be patient and hopefully an opportunity presents itself.

"As a young kid, you always dream to have one of those moments. If it were to happen at the home of cricket at Lord's, that'd be pretty cool. 

"If not, it'll just be good to be involved in the set-up."

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