The Phillips brothers are a popular lot in Auckland's cricket circles. If you happen to be around Howick Pakuranga Club in the suburbs, chances are you will see Glenn Phillips and Dale Phillips in the premises. Glenn often keeps hitting balls into the car park, while Dale, younger by two years, is the more industrious 'play straight, play correct' batsman who bowls seam-ups. Glenn is the more cricket-obsessed; Dale grew up wanting to study, but eventually followed the footsteps of his sibling. Sometimes, coaches have to plead them to stop playing.
This hunger to learn and play non-stop earned them entry to a rare club. They are only the fourth pair of siblings to have played for New Zealand at the same Under-19 World Cup, after the Marshalls (Hamish and James in 1998), McCullums (Brendon and Nathan in 2000) and Bracewells (Mark and Doug in 2010).
Glenn and Dale were part of New Zealand's squad at the 2016 edition in Bangladesh. Dale, initially picked to gain experience, ended up playing six games. Glenn was the superstar of the team. Two years on, Dale is their frontline seam-bowling allrounder and one of four members, alongside Rachin Ravindra, Finn Allen and Felix Murray, to be playing in their second youth World Cup.
Glenn, meanwhile, has graduated to become New Zealand's wicketkeeper in the T20 format following a stellar debut Super Smash season early last year, when he was the leading run-scorer. He has taken the New Zealand A route to pitch for ODI selection, following impressive performances with the emerging squad in India. This meteoric rise has inspired Dale, who hopes to emulate his older brother.
At the 2018 Under-19 World Cup, Dale has not had opportunities because of New Zealand's bruising top order, but he has quietly been preparing to ensure he is ready when in a cauldron, particularly with New Zealand through to the quarter-finals.
"Glenn has had a big influence in on me, probably some of it is seen in the way I play," Dale tells ESPNcricinfo. "It's about the support he gives me. He sends me messages, often hops over to the house to check on me. We train together. His career is taking off just now, but he has plenty of time for me. If something goes wrong, he is the first one on the phone. His role has been very important for me to be where I am today. My dad too has played a key role, because he was available for us not when he was free but when we needed him."
They hail from East London in South Africa and migrated to New Zealand from Johannesburg in 2002. Dale was three years old and Glenn five. Their parents had day jobs, so cricket was a means to engage two kids outdoors after long days. Little would their father Roland realise it would become a major slice of their lives even before they were teenagers.
Glenn and Dale grew up admiring Brendon McCullum and would go to the cricket in the summer. They had to be constantly impressed upon the need to study and develop alternate interests too. The brothers, who did everything together, differed in their outlook. Glenn decided early that studies were not his thing. Around this time, he also made news for hitting six sixes in an over during the course of an unbeaten double-hundred in a 50-over game for MCC XI in England.
"Glenn was more cricket focused. I used to be the studious one," Dale remembers. "He was smart, but didn't enjoy studying and took to cricket a bit more quickly. I used to play cricket in my free time initially, mainly after finishing studies and homework. In New Zealand, you develop alternate interests in life very easily because there is so much to do. Somewhere, I think it is important to have a career you can fall back on too. That influenced me."
Outside the cricket, the Phillipses are a normal middle-class family that binges on sport. "There is a lot of cricket chat at home, which our mum hates sometimes," Dale says. "There are a lot of antics at the dinner table. Sometimes we would use knives and folks as bat to show what happened during the day. Otherwise, when dad is around we mostly chat about Manchester United. Glenn will go quiet then because he is a hockey person. He thinks it takes longer to score goals in football, so doesn't follow it much."
When on tour, Dale loves reading. He is a fan of Robert Ludlum's Bourne series, but does not mind the odd cricketing autobiography. "AB de Villiers' book is inspiring," he says. "He has spoken about life lessons that helped him as a youngster, how he believed in his abilities and how he came up. There are quite a few things that relate to me."
Dale's immediate goal is to play first-class cricket, but his long-term goal is to wear the Black Caps jersey. His is not a cricket-obsessed journey, but one that has coincided with academics and other interests in life. How he manages to keep up with the demands going forward will define his journey as a cricketer.