Forget balls of steel, Neil Broom has a box of titanium "That should do the job," he said, when asked of the prospect of facing an attack that has hurt him before.

In 2007, Broom faced Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander at an emerging players' tournament in Australia. He burst his ribs in what was a "tough examination then." A decade later, he will face off against the two on Test debut in conditions that will have the bowlers licking their lips in anticipation.

Two days before the Test, the Basin Reserve's pitch is as green as the outfield, and that is not a euphemism. With dark clouds hovering over Wellington, the 22-yard strip has been covered for the last four days.

Five years ago, Morkel broke Ross Taylor's arm and Dale Steyn shattered Kane Williamson's box. At the least, that should make Broom, set to replace Taylor, wary. But he is still enjoying the wonder of his maiden call-up to don the whites.

"If I've ever been ready to play Test cricket, it should be now," he said. "It was pretty tough then and it will probably be another step up now. They're two great bowlers and on a pitch that looks like that, they'll be even tougher."

Broom, who has been in the first-class system since 2002, gave up rugby at school, where he played alongside All Blacks' fly-half Dan Carter at Christchurch Boys' High. His experience got him picked ahead of Colin Munro (who has now been suspended from a round of Plunket Shield matches for a code of conduct breach). Broom believes it will serve him well in the longest format.

"After 10 years of cricket you game rounds itself off. I've got a few deficiencies in my game still, but I think it's a lot more sound now," Broom said. "I think I'll be a bit more nervous going into a game like this than any game I've ever played. But at the same time I just want to go out there and treat it like any other game, just like I was playing for Otago."

Broom can also draw upon his experience with Derbyshire. He used the British passport he holds through his English-born father to sign a deal with the county in September 2015. At that time, he had not played for New Zealand since March 2010. That he thought his international career was over seemed a reasonable assumption.

But in December last year, Broom received a surprise call-up to the ODI squad and opted out of his Derby deal to have a second wind with New Zealand. As he put it, he just about changed nationalities. "It's been an interesting summer, really. I started out as an Englishman and now I'm playing a test for New Zealand," he said. "It's pretty crazy. I'll sit down at the end of the summer and hopefully take it all in."

When he does, he will look back fondly at the early statements he made.

Broom scored a century and two fifties in his first five ODIs back in the side and was even being talked about as a Test prospect then. With Taylor having had eye surgery and Henry Nicholls struggling at No.5, local media speculated Broom could play the Tests against Bangladesh but Taylor recovered in time and Nicholls was given an extended run.

"There were a couple of times where I've felt that I got close," he said. "I think it was out of me and a couple of other players. And then when push came to shove I missed out, which was a big disappointment.

He was left to concentrate on the fifty-over game and hoped to use the series against South Africa to seal his spot in the Champions Trophy squad. However, scores of 0, 2 and 2 could have put that in doubt too.

"It was obviously disappointing, personally, that series after coming in and doing alright against Bangladesh and Australia. I was targeting that series to keep going on the upward slide," he said. "But, at the end of the day, you have your highs and lows and I'm looking forward to getting out there and starting again and forgetting about that one-day series."

He is also unlikely to remember what happened in that emerging tournament ten years ago. While Morkel might have done him physical farm, it was Philander who swept him aside. Philander dismissed Broom in three of the four matches, including the final, which South Africa won.

Neither balls of steel, nor a titanium box will help Broom against Philander, but a proper handle of where his offstump will.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent