Only 20, is Glenn Phillips the Next Big Thing?
Steady on, let's give him a chance. Weather permitting, he'll have one innings against a strong South Africa attack, so expectations should be tempered. However, he has impressed at every stage of his cricket education, making his Auckland debut as an 18-year-old and playing for New Zealand Under-19s at the 2016 World Cup where he made two half-centuries in six innings.
Okay, but why has the call-up come now?
Phillips was the leading run-scorer in the Super Smash, New Zealand's domestic T20 tournament, with 369 runs in 10 innings at an average of 46.12 and strike-rate 143.02 in what was his first season of T20. That included 116 off 57 balls against Central Districts. Such has been his white-ball impact, that his New Zealand debut could come before his first-class debut. He has also put himself forward in the IPL auction.
Hang on, apparently he was born in South Africa. What's the story there?
Indeed, he was born in East London but moved to New Zealand with his family when he was five and has played his entire cricket career in the country. He went through all age-group levels at Sacred Heart College in Auckland.
Has he played for any teams overseas yet?
Yes, he had a stint on the MCC Young Cricketers' scheme at Lord's in 2016 - a path that Martin Crowe and Ross Taylor also followed. He made headlines when he hit six sixes in an over playing for MCC against the Duke of Norfolk's XI in Arundel. That day, Phillips finished with an unbeaten 201 off 123 balls in the MCC's total of 299 for 5.
How's he responded to his call-up?
Unsurprisingly with delight, and a little surprise. He was on the selectors' radar having been named in the New Zealand XI side to face the South Africans in the T20 warm-up match which was abandoned. "I got the news at about 7.40 last night ... it was the biggest call of my life so far, I can't believe it really," Phillips said on Wednesday. "Getting that call at that time in the evening was a bit of a shock but definitely one I'm really happy about it. I haven't been given any expectations, which is nice on new shoulders. I'm feeling good, I will just be keeping things as simple as possible."
What have others said about him?
Gavin Larsen, the selector, is clearly excited by what he sees. "He bats with power; has shown he can clear the rope, and gets a deserved opportunity to showcase his skills on the international stage." His coach at Auckland, Mark O'Donnell, revealed he has been likened to a very famous New Zealand name. "He has very good hand-eye co-ordination and is a very natural ball-striker, he is very much a natural," O'Donnell told stuff.co.nz. "I know he reminds [Auckland captain] Rob Nicol in a few ways of a young Brendon McCullum. He is aggressive with the bat and if he thinks he can hit it he will, rather than defend."
Does it look like he'll be fast-tracked into the ODI side as well?
Not at the moment. Dean Brownlie, who played against Australia recently, has been named as Guptill's replacement for the start of the ODI series. However, if there was another injury to the squad his name would likely be discussed. It remains to be seen if Phillips makes his first-class debut when the Plunket Shield resumes.