Sport / Cricket

Sport Staff
2 minute read
15 Feb 2017
10:07 am

Danger! Proteas warned of SA-born Kiwi rookie

Sport Staff

20-year-old Glenn Phillips, born in East London, reminds his Auckland teammates of Brendon McCullum. That's a scary thought.

SA-born Glenn Phillips could punish his former countrymen if the Proteas don't shackle him. Photo: Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images.

The Proteas will face yet another compatriot in Friday’s solitary T20 against New Zealand in Auckland.

Continuing their “tradition” of picking South African-born players, the Black Caps have included 20-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman Glenn Phillips in their squad.

Also read: The Proteas will be sick of Hamilton after their NZ tour

Born in East London, the rookie immigrated to the Land of the Long White Cloud at age five.

He joins a list that includes Grant Elliott – the Proteas’ heart-breaker in 2015’s World Cup semi –  Neil Wagner, BJ Watling and Kruger van Wyk.

Unsurprisingly, Phillips was dumbstruck after being called up, having believed regular Kiwi opener Martin Guptill would be fit to face Faf du Plessis and co.

“I got the news at about 7.40 last night. It was the biggest call of my life so far, I can’t believe it really,” he said on Wednesday.

“It was very much out of the blue. I thought Martin Guptill would be there, I thought he was fully fit. Getting that call at that time in the evening was a bit of a shock but definitely one I’m really happy about it.”

The Proteas bowlers can’t afford to underestimate Phillips, even if he might be nervous.

In fact, his Auckland coach Mark O’Donnell – who coached Gauteng with much success in the late 1990s and early 2000s – has issued a stark warning.

“Glenn has very good hand-eye co-ordination and is a very natural ball-striker, he is very much a natural,” he told stuff.co.nz.

“He reminds (Auckland captain) Rob Nichol in a few ways of a young Brendon McCullum. He is aggressive with the bat and if he thinks he can hit it he will, rather than defend. It’s exactly what you want in T20 and he literally won us two or three games this season.”

Phillips smashed 369 runs at a strike-rate of 143 in New Zealand’s domestic T20 competition, a haul that included a 57-ball 116.

“I have a ‘see ball-hit ball’ approach,” he said.

“In the end, as an opening batsman the faster the ball comes the faster it goes off bat, I prefer it to come a bit quicker. I haven’t been given any expectations, which is nice on new shoulders.”

The Proteas would do well to take notice.

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