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Glenn Phillips relished the Jofra Archer challenge

Glenn Phillips relished the Jofra Archer challenge

New Zealand A’s wicket-keeper batsman Glenn Phillips had a unique experience like nothing else when he featured against England on Day 1 of the 3-day warm-up game at the Cobham Oval on November 15.

“My goodness. That was the quickest I’ve faced in my life. The challenge was unbelievable,” Glenn Phillips said.

Opting to bat first, the home team lost Rachin Ravindra early, but Phillips saw off some good new ball bowling and shared a 107-run second-wicket stand with Hamish Rutherford to steer the side out of trouble. However, as he crossed fifty, Archer returned with a fiery spell bowling bouncers at will.

“He got me on the forearm, he nearly took my head off a couple of times and then he took me on the chest a couple of times.

“With Steve Smith getting hit a couple of months ago, it [the fear of injury] is in the back of your mind a bit as he’s running in a bit. But he’s not out there in trying to intentionally hurt anyone. It’s more a tactical thing. If you’re watching the ball, hopefully, you should be OK. But if you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time…

“It’s the most fun you can have out there. There’s no point it being easy, especially when a guy is running in trying to take your head off. It might not be his wicket-taking ball, either. So the challenge is to make sure you survive and get out of the spell.”

Despite the blows, Phillips managed to weather the storm and completed the hundred. “The wicket flattened out quite nicely in the end so it was good to bat on. It was a lot of fun,” he added.

With the England pacers not finding much swing like they normally do back home with the Dukes, it is evident that they will be looking up to Archer to unsettle batsmen when the pitch is not aiding lateral movement. Phillips reckoned that watching the ball closely is key for New Zealand’s batsmen when they play Archer in the two-Test matches.

“What advice would I give to the New Zealand team if they ask? Just watch the ball as hard as you can. Like any bowler, he does give you bad balls. But he’s very accurate with his short-ball plan,” he concluded.

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