Having produced some consistent batting blitz in recent times, New Zealand’s Glenn Phillips was snapped up by the Rajasthan Royals for the remainder of the IPL 2021 season, and even though he smashed his way to 254 runs in the CPL, the right-handed batter could not help the Barbados Royals secure a semi-final berth, meaning he had time to speak to us from St Kitts before he joins his other Royals family in the UAE.
Starting off by disclosing how he ended up signing for the Royals, Phillips said, “At first, I knew there were other players ahead of me, and then with players dropping out, this opportunity came about. There were a couple of other teams who wanted me, but the fact that I was playing for the Barbados Royals already, made sense for me to go with the Rajasthan Royals. I felt it was the right decision to stay with the same franchise.”
“After I joined, Sanju Samson had sent a text welcoming me to the Royals so that was good to see. I had subsequent chats with Sangakkara but that was more of a general catch up because I’ve played with him before at the (Jamaica) Tallawahs,” added the 24-year-old.
A born athlete who has “played every sport under the sun,” Phillips also added that he “will be happy to fit in wherever the team needs” him to. He continued, “Whether it’s opening, in the middle order, bowling, keeping wickets or wherever in the field, I’ll just do whatever the team needs for me to do.”
Commenting on what the Royals’ fans can expect from him, the hard-hitting batter said, “I feel like I have the ability to control the pace of the game depending on what the situation is like regardless of the position I’m batting at. So, if you lose wickets, I feel like I have the batsmanship to be able to take the game deep and then accelerate at the end. Having power in my game does allow me to take it deep till the end and catch up. I can give the team a fast start as well, but also play the longer innings.”
The Auckland-based cricketer also had a message for the Royals’ fans, “If I get an opportunity, I’ll try to do the best that I can. I’m someone who will put the team first every single time and hopefully give the people some entertainment.”
Reflecting on what’s ahead for the Rajasthan Royals this season, he stated, “From the perspective of our position on the table, being in the fifth spot is a nice little position at the moment because couple of wins from here and we’ll be well on our way to qualifying.”
An individual who likes to keep to himself, Phillips also said that he thinks the conditions in the UAE will be better than what he experienced during the CPL. “I’ve played in the UAE before and I think from a pitch and turn perspective, I would probably say that the Caribbean pitches are slower and turn more. I’m actually relishing coming over to the UAE as the pitches will be a bit quicker compared to what I’ve been playing on currently, so that will be a nice change.”
Even though he was announced as a replacement for Jos Buttler, Phillips reckons that he’s “a completely different player” to the Englishman. “The team has brought me in to do whatever role they need me to play, so it’s not really like I’m filling in Jos’ shoes, I’m probably filling in my own shoes and looking to create a legacy of my own rather than being a replacement.”
Throwing light on his excitement of playing in the IPL, Phillips expressed his desire to experience the tournament in India sometime in the future. “I’m really looking forward to being a part of a new team and just getting amongst so many experienced players and talking to them and trying to pick their brains. It would be awesome to be part of that full IPL atmosphere in India, but with the IPL taking place in the UAE - it’s the next best thing – and it’s my first IPL season so I’m not going to complain and will take whatever I can get,” expressed Phillips who also agreed that the “conditions in the UAE will help in preparing for the T20 World Cup.”
Asked if he idolizes anyone, Phillips said he likes picking up little things from various players and coaches that he meets but has never tried to copy anyone. “It was nice to pick Daniel Vettori’s brains to take my bowling a little bit further. But from a batting perspective, I pretty much just wing it as I go, and take little bits and pieces from everyone and try to find the solutions to the situations that I’m up against. I think that allows me to look at other players and be objective and take things that they do that work, as opposed to just looking at one person completely,” gushed Phillips, who is a true all-rounder due to his unique ability to be able to bat, bowl, keep wickets and field.
Terming his recent experience with the Barbados Royals as “fantastic”, Phillips said that he believes “the team will win the competition for the third time soon because of the cohesion and team spirit that the unit showed even during the hard times,” as he signed off.