New Zealand star Glenn Phillips isn’t sure he found the latest cricket innovation Twenty20 after starting a sprinter when he was on the non-striker’s side for a faster run between wickets.
Phillips starred in the Black Caps’ 65-game win over Sri Lanka on Saturday, scoring 104 of 64 from a wicket that most others struggled to score from.
The win helped New Zealand qualify for the World Cup final, needing only one win in their last two games and leaving the Australian champions to fight for another place in the group.
But beyond the play of strokes and Phillips’ power, the other aspect of his game was his run between the wickets and his late non-offensive starting position.
The 25-year-old decided to sprint from three points in the final, aiming to give himself the biggest advantage in the race without risking a ‘Mankad’.
“It was really a spur of the moment,” said Phillips.
“There was a lot of things to do around ‘Mankads’ and get out of the fold.
“At the end of the day, it is my responsibility to be in my favor and leave at the right time.
“If the bowler is doing his job, he has the right to be able to withdraw the deposits.
“So just to be able to get started and be able to take off as fast as possible, it made sense.”
Phillips is one of the fastest of the New Zealand team, his run between the wickets was a key part for the Black Caps who regained control after slipping to 3-15 early.
And in an innovation game like Twenty20, it doesn’t know if it will catch on.
The T20 format has consistently seen several evolutions with bat and ball, bringing cricket to a more 360 degree game for batting and off-paced variations.
But running between wickets remained essentially unchanged except for more use of sprint trainers as the need for speed and increased acceleration increased.
“Who knows? Maybe some people will use it, others won’t,” Phillips shrugged.
“The real reason I did it was the position I had to get into if I had the club inside the fold, I thought it would be slower to turn and take off.
“So get your foot inside the fold and go from there.
“Of course, extending the club into the crease gives you an extra foot or two.
“But at the end of the day, I have small arms, so my speed will probably take me a little further out of my reach.”