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Phillips T20 call-up 'out of the blue'

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 15/02/2017 Angelo Risso

Glenn Phillips. © Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images Glenn Phillips. A little phone call with Black Caps selector Gavin Larsen has turned out to be the biggest of Glenn Phillips' life.

The 20-year-old Auckland wicketkeeper-batsman was selected on Tuesday night to fill in for crocked opener Martin Guptill in Friday's T20 against South Africa.

Phillips top-scored in this year's domestic Super Smash competition with 369 runs in 10 matches, including three half-centuries and an unbeaten 116.

He'll likely play as a specialist batsman against the country of his birth, with Luke Ronchi stepping back into the XI after a return to form.

Phillips said he was nevertheless stoked by the call-up.

"It's very much out of the blue, I thought Martin was going to be in there, thought he was going to be fully fit," Phillips said.

"I haven't really been given any expectations which is nice on new shoulders, just been told to go out there, see the ball, hit the ball, do what I do best."

Guptill was poised to make his Black Caps comeback at Eden Park after straining his left hamstring in the field in the first Chappell-Hadlee ODI.

But the 30-year-old opener injured his other hamstring in training earlier this week, and has been diagnosed with a minor strain.

He'll be out of Friday's T20 match, as well as the first two ODIs against South Africa in Hamilton and Christchurch.

Phillips has some experience alongside Guptill for club outfit Auckland, and said the Kiwi stalwart had taught him the art of patience at the crease.

"You can always catch up later on, and I found that out after he sucked up a couple of dot balls and then hit a few homers afterwards," Phillips said.

"Time is never an issue."

Phillips said he preferred to play off the back-foot and hit the ball square, which may make him the perfect antidote for any early-innings bouncers.

Having never played on Eden Park's main ground before, he also looked forward to trying his arm at the notoriously short straight boundary.

"I'm a bit of a square player so going straight should be my option with the short straight boundary, but Eden Park is a lovely place to play," Phillips said.

Proteas all-rounder Chris Morris admitted to knowing little of Phillips, saying Guptill's loss would be a major blow for New Zealand.

His South Africa side head into Friday's match on the back of a 2-1 T20 series defeat to Sri Lanka last month, but have won 14 ODIs on the trot.

Morris said the side's short turnaround after their ODI whitewash of Sri Lanka wouldn't be an excuse for any poor results.

"Keeping it basic, we all accepted there was going to be a quick turnaround we knew we didn't have the usual recovery time," the 29-year-old said.

"There's a no-excuses policy."

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