Glenn Phillips signs Gloucestershire deal for Vitality T20 Blast


Middle-order batter could also play two Championship games; James Harris joins Glamorgan on loan

Gloucestershire have announced the signing of Glenn Phillips, the New Zealand batter, at some stage in their T20 Blast crusade.

Phillips, 24, dislodged Ross Taylor to develop into a member of New Zealand’s first-choice T20I side this season, playing all 14 of their home fixtures and hitting 108 off 51 balls against West Indies. He’ll supply a wicketkeeping option whether James Bracey misses one of the most Blast because of England duty, and can also bowl occasional offbreaks.

A specialist middle-order batter, Phillips has improved his game against spin markedly throughout four seasons playing for the Jamaica Tallawahs in the Caribbean Premier League, and is understood to have been discussed as a imaginable back-up option by IPL franchises ahead of February’s auction.

He’ll add further firepower to a squad that reached Finals Day final summer for the first time since 2007, joining Ian Cockbain, Jack Taylor, Benny Howell and Ryan Higgins in the middle-order engine room. Phillips spent the 2016 summer in the United Kingdom playing for MCC Young Cricketers and for Brondesbury CC in club cricket, and this will be his first stint in county cricket.

Phillips can be to be had for the County Championship fixtures that take place throughout the Blast, specifically against Middlesex and Hampshire at Cheltenham, by which point Kraigg Brathwaite’s stint at the club will have ended. He has a solid first-class record, averaging 40.18, and made a half-century in his only Test to date – against Australia in early 2020. Having missed out on New Zealand’s squad for the tour of England, he’ll be to be had to play during the Blast, and could be an appealing option as a short-term replacement playing throughout the Hundred.

Ian Harvey, Gloucestershire’s interim head coach, said: “Glenn is very exciting to watch and he will add a massive amount to what’s already a powerful T20 batting line-up. He can bat at the top of the order, in the middle and also add to our firepower at the end. He is a bit of an allrounder because he bowls and assists in keeping wicket as mannered so he’ll give us various options.

“To have someone in your side having the ability to do pretty much everything is a large bonus and his experience of playing around the globe in franchise cricket is going to be a massive benefit for our players. He is played Test match cricket and can retain wicket so he gives us various options whether we wish to bring him in for red-ball games.”

James Harris has signed for Glamorgan on a two-week loan  Getty Images

Meantime, Glamorgan have announced the signing of James Harris, the Middlesex seamer, on loan for their next two Championship fixtures. Harris, who is president of the Professional Cricketers’ Organization, came through the club’s academy system before joining Middlesex in 2012, and is returning to Wales on loan for the second one time after a similar move in 2014.

Harris has fallen down the pecking order at Middlesex and was once not named in their squads for the first two Championship games of the season. Glamorgan are experiencing an availability crisis inside their seam-bowling branch with Ruaidhri Smith and Jamie McIlroy suffering injuries, Timm van der Gugten reporting muscle tightness and Michael Neser yet to reach as an out of the country player, giving Harris an possibility to play in their matches against Northamptonshire and Kent.

Matt Curler is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98

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