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Daniel Vettori: Barbados Royals 'lucky' to have 'total cricketer' Glenn Phillips

The teams' latest recruit will be a big part of their plans with the ball, new coach says

Deivarayan Muthu
27-Aug-2021
File photo: Glenn Phillips' all-round brilliance came to the fore during New Zealand's most recent home summer  •  Getty Images

File photo: Glenn Phillips' all-round brilliance came to the fore during New Zealand's most recent home summer  •  Getty Images

The Barbados Royals' latest recruit Glenn Phillips will be a big part of their plans, not just with the bat but also with the ball and in the field, according to new coach Daniel Vettori.
Phillips didn't bowl in the Royals' season opener against St Kitts & Nevis Patriots on Thursday, but is likely to do the job more often once the Warner Park pitches wear out. The CPL has been an annual trip since 2017 for Phillips who had been the top-scorer for the Jamaica Tallawahs over the last three seasons. A back condition has prevented him from keeping wickets for long periods, so Phillips has added another string to his bow: fastish offspin.
"From a batting perspective, we've seen he's a guy who can adapt to Caribbean conditions," Vettori said during a virtual media interaction. "Sometimes, the wickets can be tough on batters, but by all accounts, he's been so successful over here and in that regard, we're lucky to have him. I think you see the energy he brings in the field and he can actually make a difference in the field, which you can't say about every player.
"The thing that we're going to tap into him is his bowling. He's starting to bowl a bit more for New Zealand - they see him as an option. Once the conditions start to suit spin bowlers, I think we see Glenn Phillips as a total cricketer. That's such a unique thing and in this day and age, he can contribute extensively in all three disciplines."
"Glenn Phillips has bowled in the past and [I'm] trying to develop those guys. So, my teams from the past do rely heavily on the spinners and hopefully, we can bring the best out of them."
Daniel Vettori
Phillips' all-round brilliance particularly came into the fore during New Zealand's most recent home summer, culminating in his first New Zealand central contract and first IPL contract. In New Zealand's last T20I series at home, against Bangladesh, Phillips followed up a whirlwind 58* with bowling figures of 1 for 20 in three overs in a rain-hit fixture in Napier.
In the absence of Mitchell Santner, and after Ish Sodhi was dispatched 4,6,6 by Soumya Sarkar, Phillips got his non-turning offbreaks to skid off the track and bother the Bangladesh batters. Phillips also did his bit with the ball for the Auckland Aces in the Super Smash and Gloucestershire in the Vitality T20 Blast. In the County Championship, however, Phillips looped the ball up, finding a fair amount of turn. His bowling could potentially be more than handy on the tracks in the UAE, where he will feature in his first IPL stint, with the Rajasthan Royals, before linking up with New Zealand for the following T20 World Cup.
"I've been working on it for years to press my case for a long time now," Phillips said of his bowling after the Napier T20I. "It was just about getting the opportunity to prove that I can do it. Tim [Southee] has had faith in me for a long time; it was just about getting the right chance to prove that I can do that. To be able to perform under pressure, especially when we were under the pump, that was really important to me, especially after the first game against Aussies, where I did feel the pressure and the nerves a little bit. So, to be able to come back and improve from the last performance is really important to me.
"In the end, my bowling plans are very simple and he [Southee] has faced me a lot in the nets. So, he knows that my plan is very simple. I've got two-three balls and he just backs me to know which ball to bowl and execute that ball. Obviously, if bowlers miss [their lengths], they miss. I'm not the only bowler that misses and I won't be the last. So, he gives you that faith and trust to be able to go out there and execute exactly what you want to do. At this level, you're also required, as a bowler, to be able to take charge of your own field and where you want to bowl."
At the Royals in the Caribbean, Phillips will be among a potent group of spinners, including Hayden Walsh Jr, Ashely Nurse and Jake Lintott, although they will be without Rashid Khan who is expected to feature in Afghanistan's ODI series with Pakistan. Vettori, who has had coaching gigs in the IPL, BBL, T20 Blast and the Hundred, counted working with spinners as one of his strengths.
"I've always enjoyed working with spinners and that's, I suppose, is my forte and how I've helped players in the past. Looking forward to working with Hayden Walsh, we've got Ashley Nurse here who is an experienced T20 bowler, Glenn Phillips has bowled in the past and [I'm] trying to develop those guys. So, my teams from the past do rely heavily on the spinners and hopefully, we can bring the best out of them."
Lintott, who hasn't played any T20 cricket away from the UK, is a left-field player to watch out for. After being a wildcard pick in the Hundred, he emerged as Southern Brave's top wicket-taker, with 11 strikes in nine games, in their run to the title. Vettori, who was in the opposite camp in that final, with the Birmingham Phoenix, was particularly impressed with how the Somerset-born left-arm wristspinner tricked Moeen Ali after the batter swiped him over long-on for six.
"Jake Lintott is obviously a player not many would've seen," Vettori said. He's sort of been a little bit of a journeyman, I suppose, around England cricket and he's finally settled with Warwickshire. He was picked up in the wildcard draft for the Hundred and had such a successful season with the Southern Brave and I think, he was the leading wicket-taker for them.
"His skill sets have been to manipulate pace and length depending on the batsman. You saw that in the final against one of the best players of spin in Moeen Ali. He was able to get him out through that change of length [and] change of pace. It's not always easy as a left-arm wristspinner; it's a tough art form, but from what I've seen of him, he has a lot of control and has an exceptionally good googly. Looks like even the best batsmen in the world struggle to pick it up."
The Royals will look for their first points in the six-team league when they run into reigning champions Trinbago Knight Riders on Friday.

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo