Wicketkeeper-batsman has spent a month with the A side and local knowledge will be handy for senior team ahead of first T20 in Abu Dhabi
New Zealand newcomer Glenn Phillips all set to use his UAE experience in Pakistan series
Glenn Phillips is determined to make the most of his experience playing in UAE conditions during New Zealand's upcoming series against Pakistan.
Phillips, a 21-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman, is primed to play in a three-match Twenty20 series, which gets under way at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. Turns out he may also figure in the three one-day internationals and three Tests to follow.
The national selectors have factored in the youngster’s playing time in the Emirates, where he spent nearly a month with New Zealand A.
Phillips, who usually opens the batting, stroked two half-centuries in their 2-1 T20 series triumph over Pakistan A in Dubai. And even though he failed to fire in 50-overs matches in the capital thereafter, the knowhow he has gathered here - and in similar conditions in the West Indies where he played in the Caribbean Premier League - could come in handy.
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“It was very nice to get some time in the middle against the UAE - especially before the start of a series - even taking a couple of catches under lights," he said. "I haven’t actually fielded and taken a catch under lights, so it was good to do that."
For Phillips, succeeding in the UAE is all about acclimatising.
“The conditions have been a bit tricky every now and then here,” Phillips said after top-scoring with 48 during their 37-run victory over the UAE in a warm-up game at the Abu Dhabi Cricket Oval on Sunday.
“Adapting to that is the key for us. Having that T20 series win against Pakistan A was a real confidence booster."
Phillips said his teammates fancy their chances of winning away from home, even though he conceded Pakistan have the edge. Their opponents are not only the top-ranked team in the shortest format, they also completed a series whitewash against Australia in Dubai this week.
The question, therefore, is how well the New Zealand batsmen can adapt to the pitches here.
“We will have to really nail down our boundary options, and rotating the strike is going to be the key for us,” Phillips said, pointing out that wickets here tend to be two-paced.
"It will be up to the top order to bat as long as possible," he pointed out. "At the death it is quite hard to hit out. So we have to make sure that we don’t leave our lower-order batsmen with too much to do.”
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Phillips has already represented the senior team in eight T20Is, but he knows he has the big shoes of Martin Guptill to fill. Guptill, a veteran of 281 internationals, has been ruled out due to a left calf strain.
“I have to admit I’m not going to be a Guptill,” Phillips said. “I will do the best that I can do. I have my strengths, Guptill has got his strengths, so if I try to be him things will go wrong.
"I will stay myself as much as possible.”
Phillips is pleased to see Corey Anderson return to the side after being away for 16 months to recover from back surgery.
“It’s good to see him back from injury and the way he has held himself,” Phillips said.