Wayne B. Phillips

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For the other Test cricketer named Wayne Phillips, see Wayne N. Phillips
Wayne Phillips
Personal information
Full name Wayne Bentley Phillips
Born (1958-03-01) 1 March 1958 (age 59)
Adelaide, Australia
Nickname Flipper
Batting style Left-handed
Role Batsman, Wicket keeper, coach,
International information
National side
Test debut (cap 320) 11 November 1983 v Pakistan
Last Test 13 March 1986 v New Zealand
ODI debut (cap 69) 22 October 1982 v Pakistan
Last ODI 29 March 1986 v New Zealand
Domestic team information
Years Team
1979–1991 South Australia
Career statistics
Competition Test ODI FC LA
Matches 27 48 114 83
Runs scored 1485 852 6907 1804
Batting average 32.28 24.34 37.74 28.18
100s/50s 2/7 0/6 13/33 1/13
Top score 159 75* 260 135
Balls bowled - - 29 -
Wickets - - 0 -
Bowling average - - - -
5 wickets in innings - - 0 -
10 wickets in match - - 0 n/a
Best bowling - - - -
Catches/stumpings 52/– 42/7 154/7 70/8
Source: [1], 24 August 2011

Wayne Bentley Phillips (born 1 March 1958) is a former Australian cricketer, who played in 27 Tests and 48 ODIs from 1982 to 1986 as a batsman and wicket-keeper. He played for South Australia between 1978 and 1991


Phillips played cricket as a wicketkeeper at high school, but concentrated on batting once he started grade cricket. He would occasionally wicket keep and was a reserve wicketkeeper with Australian under-age teams, but soon established himself as a specialist batsman.

He made his first class debut during the 1977-78 season, when the state sides had been depleted due to World Series Cricket.[1] Over the summer he played three Sheffield Shield matches and a single one-day match as a middle-order batsman, with a top score of 22.

Phillips did not play first class cricket again until the 1980-81 season, when he was picked for South Australia's last match of the Sheffield Shield. He made the most of his opportunity, scoring 111 and 91 as an opener against Victoria.[2][3]

Established in South Australian side[edit]

Phillips established himself as an opening batsman over the 1981-82 season, scoring 857 first class runs at an average of 47.61, forming a strong opening combination with Rick Darling and making an important contribution to South Australia winning the Sheffield Shield that summer.[4]

He scored a century against the visiting Pakistan side[5][6] and 260 against Queensland - the first double century from a South Australian batsman in ten years.[7][8]

These results saw Phillips selected in the Australian squad to tour Pakistan that winter as a batsman and reserve keeper.[9]

Pakistan Tour 1982-83: International Debut[edit]

There was a spot open in the Australian batting line up as Greg Chappell was not touring. Phillips was in competition with Greg Ritchie.

A score of 92 in a tour game against the Pakistan Invitation XI[10][11] saw Phillips selected to make his one-day international debut in the final match of that series. Unfortunately the game was called off due to a riot.[12]

1982/83 Season[edit]

Phillips scored consistently throughout the 1982-83 season, scoring 680 runs at an average of 37.77. He scored centuries against New South Wales[13] and Tasmania[14] but was unable to break into the test team. There was an opener vacancy after Graeme Wood was dropped but the spot was given to Kepler Wessels.

Nonetheless, Phillips remained on the radar of Australian selectors. He was picked as 12th man for the 3rd test,[15] and selected in a Young Australian side to tour Zimbabwe in early 1983 as a wicketkeeper batsman. The highlight of this tour for Phillips was scoring 135 in a one-day game.[16] After this success, commentators started talking about Phillips as a possible Australian wicketkeeper.

1983-84: Test Debut against Pakistan[edit]

Phillips was picked as opener for the first test against Pakistan during the 1983-84 summer and scored 159 in the first innings.[17] He played for the rest of the series, ending with 362 runs at an average of 60.33, and was selected for the 1984 tour of the West Indies. During the summer he was also picked as wicketkeeper for some one day games for South Australia, which led to further calls for him to play in this position for Australia.

1983-84 Tour of West Indies: Wicketkeeper[edit]

Rod Marsh had retired as Australia's wicketkeeper at the end of the 1983-84 season and it was expected his replacement would be Roger Woolley, who kept wicket for the first two tour games. However, the selectors were unhappy with Woolley's form and felt having Phillips as keeper would strengthen Australia's batting. This also allowed them to pick Steve Smith, who was in good form, as opener to bat alongside Kepler Wessels.

Phillips played the first test batting at number seven, top scoring in Australia's second innings with 76.[18] After Steve Smith fell ill and was unable to play in the second test, Phillips was promoted to opener, but failed in two innings, scoring 4 and 0.

He was put back down the order again for the 3rd test, this time at number eight, with Tom Hogan batting ahead of him. The move seemed to pay off in the first innings, Phillips scoring 120 runs, including 14 fours and 4 sixes. However his effort was not enough to save the game, with Australia collapsing disastrously in the second innings.[19] Phillips played the 4th as a specialist opener, allowing Woolley to take the gloves, but he only scored 5 and 22. Woolley's keeping did not impress and Phillips was back at behind the stumps for the 5th test, opening both innings as well, making only 12 and 2.

Phillips' wicketkeeping was generally acclaimed through the series although he was criticised for taking part in the notorious "protest" by captain Kim Hughes about not being set a winnable target in a tour game against Trinidad and Tobago.[20][21]

Peter McFarline who covered the tour later said Roger "Woolley's tour with the gloves has been as poor as I have seen in this class of cricket. It resulted in Wayne Phillips, a man of talent but not yet with the capacity to understand that talent, being placed in the position of keeping as well as opening the batting."[22]

1984-85: India and the West Indies[edit]

Phillips stayed on as first choice wicketkeeper for the 1984 tour of India. He was quoted at the time saying:

From the Australian point of view, I can become the all-rounder. I don't bat and bowl but I bat and wicket-keep... Hopefully this tour will see the start of me becoming a specialist wicket-keeper. I realise I'm under enormous pressure, but I really believe I can prove I am as good as any specialist wicket-keeper in the country.[23]

Phillips was generally held to have done a good job on the tour[23] and also throughout the 1984-85 summer, despite an injury which saw him miss several games. His batting in the first two tests was seen as especially positive.[24] He dislocated a finger and missed the last three tests.[25] He was replaced by Steve Rixon but resumed his position at the end of the summer when he was better.[26]

He was also selected on the 1985 Ashes.

At the end of the summer it was revealed that in November 1984 Phillips had signed to go on the rebel tours to South Africa over the 1985-86 and 1986-87 seasons. The tours were organised by former test batsman, Bruce Francis, who later wrote that Phillips:

Disliked keeping and would have preferred to play for Australia as a top-order batsman. By the time the tour was being put together, he had become fed up with the pressures of the modern game and was determined to make as much money as he could, as quickly as he could, and then retire. It was a revelation to me that such a fine player could be so unenthusiastic about the game.[27]

However Phillips, along with Dirk Wellham and Graeme Wood, changed his mind after a financial inducement from Kerry Packer. (Murray Bennett changed his mind of his own accord.)[28] For a time it was unsure whether the rest of the Australian players would agree to tour with Wellham, Phillips and Wood, but this was cleared up and the players were allowed to go to England.[29]

1985 Ashes[edit]

Phillips was one of the few Australian players to return home with his reputation enhanced during this tour, which Australia lost 3-1. His fighting innings of 91 in the first test threatened to save the game for Australia. In the second test he came to the wicket when Australia were 5-65 chasing 127. Phillips and Border put on 51 runs, taking Australia in sight of victory, with Phillips contributing an invaluable 29 off 32 balls.

In the fifth test, another fighting knock from Phillips brought Australia 80 minutes from the safety of a draw but he was dismissed in controversial circumstances.[30][31]

1985-86 Summer: India and New Zealand[edit]

Phillips was kept on as Australia's wicketkeeper for the following summer against New Zealand and India. At the beginning of the season, Mike Coward wrote that "there cannot be any question about Wayne Phillips being named wicketkeeper. After all, arguably, he is the second-best batsman in the Australian team."[32]

Phillips' batting in the second test against New Zealand helped Australia achieve a rare victory. However his form behind the stumps against the spinners was increasingly poor, and caused a drop in his confidence which in turn affected his batting.[33] In the second test against India he missed two easy stumpings, causing Alan Border to come to his defence: "I feel sorry for Wayne," he said. "He's had a couple of bad tracks to keep on. He feels he is letting down the side. But I hope we stick with him. I don't believe there is a 'keeper in the country capable of doing any better."[34]

Prime Minister Bob Hawke even weighed in on the issue:

We've got to have a specialist wicketkeeper and I don't mean that as any reflection on Wayne Phillips. I think an unfair burden has been placed on him. What we need to see is Australia's best keeper chosen and I think we'll see Phillips in there as a batsman and we'll get much more value from his batting when he's been relieved of that burden.[35]

Phillips ended up being replaced by specialist keeper Tim Zoehrer on the 1986 tour to New Zealand. Cricket journalist Mike Coward wrote at the time that "Phillips, who has been the butt of much criticism and ridicule over the past 12 months... who has been severely depressed at times this season, will privately rejoice at Zoehrer's promotion".[36]

Phillips also missed a one-day game that season due to a cracked bone in his finger.[37]

1985-86 Tour of New Zealand[edit]

Phillips played in all three tests of the 1986 tour of New Zealand as a specialist batsman, although he also played as wicketkeeper in the one day internationals, and one of the tour games. By now David Boon and Geoff Marsh had established themselves as openers, so Phillips batted at number three. He only passed 50 once in the tests, the third game which Australia lost after a second innings collapse.[38] This turned out to be Phillip's last test.

He did play one last great innings for Australia, helping win the 3rd one day international. He came to the wicket with Australia at 5-142 requiring 230 to win and Steve Waugh at the other end. Waugh asked him what he thought and Phillips replied, "Simple, young fella. With my talent and your youth, we'll get these with an over to spare."[39] The two of them put on 86 runs with Phillips scoring 53 off 32 balls, and Australia won by 3 wickets. Phillips and Waugh were voted joint man of the match.[40] Journalist Trevor Grant, who covered the game, wrote that

Anyone who has followed the career of the South Australian left-hander and former wicketkeeper knows his capacity to turn a game. But his form has reached such a low point on this tour that it was illogical to believe he could do it at this stage of a long, demanding and utterly forgettable season. But all the exasperating uncertainty was suddenly cast aside today.[41]

Despite his efforts, Phillips was not selected in the squad to tour India later that year and never regained his position in the Australian test or one day side.

Wayne Phillips' Test career batting performance

Post Test Career[edit]

Philips went on to score runs for South Australia until the early 1990s. He concentrated on batting although he occasionally returned to wicketkeeping.[42]

In March 1987, he batted in partnership of 462 runs with David Hookes against Tasmania, setting an Australian record for the highest first run partnership. Phillips scored 213 not out. The runs were scored in 299 minutes off only 84.3 overs[43] He also scored a century against the visiting English side. Despite this, he was not recalled to the national side.


He coached the Southern Redbacks for four seasons, until resigning on 16 March 2007, one season before his contract was set to expire. Under his tenure, the Redbacks' winning percentage hit 25%[citation needed] (10 wins, 22 losses and eight draws) and in his last season, they finished last in both the Pura Cup (winning just one match) and Ford Ranger Cup competitions.

Philiips' father Brian Phillips was a former Australian rules footballer and chairman of selectors with Sturt Football Club in the South Australian National Football League.[44]

Post Cricket Career[edit]

In 2007 Phillips accepted a position as chief fundraiser for the South Australian branch of the Liberal Party.[45]


Phillip's promotion to wicketkeeper is generally held to have done considerable damage to his talents as a batsman.[46] Steve Waugh later described him as:

That sporadic genuius... 'Flipper' was always upbeat and great fun to be around - except when he was driving the team bus, in a style that on occasions bordered on maniacal and broke most of the known road rules - but I could never quite work out whether his casual, laid-back attitude was genuine or a disguise for uncertainty and self-doubt.[47]

At his peak, his good looks and ability to score fast meant he was one of the most popular Australian players, particularly with Channel Nine (who broadcast the game) and PBL (in change of marketing). Graham Halbish, an executive with the Australian Cricket Board, later wrote that:

Wayne was very popular with Channel Nine and PBL because they believed he was good value as a commercial asset. PBL rated him in the top three or so players in the country. The selectors certainly did not have him rated that highly. He was a wicketkeeper and a batsman but he was not performing to an exceptional standard, or consistently. Statistics did not equate to his profile.[48]

Phillips still holds the Test match records for the most matches played (18) and catches taken (43) in a complete career without a stumping.[49]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ South Australia v Victoria Sheffield Shield 1977/78 Adelaide Oval on 10-13 February 1978
  2. ^ Victoria v South Australia Sheffield Shield 1980/81 Kardinia Park, Geelong on 6-9 March 1981
  3. ^ "Solid effort by SA batsmen". The Canberra Times. 55, (16,598). Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 7 March 1981. p. 46. Retrieved 15 October 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  4. ^ "CRICKET Shield earned by South Australia.". The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995). ACT: National Library of Australia. 2 March 1982. p. 16. Retrieved 16 December 2014. 
  5. ^ South Australia v Pakistanis, Pakistan in Australia 1981/82, Adelaide Oval on 26-29 December 1981
  6. ^ "Darling and Phillips defy Pakistan attack". The Canberra Times. 56, (16,893). Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 28 December 1981. p. 18. Retrieved 15 October 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  7. ^ South Australia v Queensland, Sheffield Shield 1981/82, Adelaide Oval on 8-10 January 1982
  8. ^ "Unbeaten 203 for Phillips.". The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995). ACT: National Library of Australia. 9 January 1982. p. 36. Retrieved 16 December 2014. 
  9. ^ "Kim Hughes to lead Pakistan-tour team.". The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995). ACT: National Library of Australia. 26 March 1982. p. 22. Retrieved 16 December 2014. 
  10. ^ Pakistan Invitation XI v Australians, Australia in Pakistan 1982/83, Jinnah Stadium, Sialkot on 10-12 October 1982
  11. ^ "CRICKET Match ends in draw.". The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995). ACT: National Library of Australia. 13 October 1982. p. 38. Retrieved 16 December 2014. 
  12. ^ 3rd ODI Australia vs Pakistan, Karachi 22 October 1982 Cricinfo
  13. ^ New South Wales v South Australia, Sheffield Shield 1982/83, Sydney Cricket Ground on 3-6 December 1982
  14. ^ South Australia v Tasmania, Sheffield Shield 1982/83, Adelaide Oval on 21-24 January 1983
  15. ^ "CRICKET Rackemann out of Test side.". The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995). ACT: National Library of Australia. 10 December 1982. p. 26. Retrieved 16 December 2014. 
  16. ^ Zimbabwe v Young Australia, Young Australia in Zimbabwe 1982/83, Harare Sports Club on 17 April 1983
  17. ^ 1st Test Australia vs Pakistan, Perth 11-14 November 1983 Cricinfo
  18. ^ West Indies v Australia, Australia in West Indies 1983/84 (1st Test) Venue Bourda, Georgetown on 2-4 and 6-7 March 1984
  19. ^ Australia in West Indies 1983/84 (3rd Test) Kensington Oval, Bridgetown on 30th, 31 March, 1, 3, 4 April 1984 (5-day match) Cricket Archive
  20. ^ Martin Williamson, 'How to win friends ...', Cricinfo, 15 July 2006 accessed 8 June 2012
  21. ^ Peter McFarline, 'Tour manager has to explain', The Age, 15 March 1984 p15 accessed 20 July 2012
  22. ^ Peter McFarline, "The long list of failures in the Caribbean", Sydney Morning Herald 24 April 1984 accessed 27 March 2014
  23. ^ a b Mike Coward, 'The Irony of the Keen and Efficient Casual', Sydney Morning Herald, 4 October 1984 p 29 accessed 3 July 2012
  24. ^ "CRICKET.". The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995). ACT: National Library of Australia. 5 December 1984. p. 1 Section: SPORTS SECTION. Retrieved 16 December 2014. 
  25. ^ "Same team, different side, says Border.". The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995). ACT: National Library of Australia. 7 December 1984. p. 1 Section: SPORTS SECTION. Retrieved 16 December 2014. 
  26. ^ "Phillips back; Rixon left in the shadows.". The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995). ACT: National Library of Australia. 4 January 1985. p. 18. Retrieved 16 December 2014. 
  27. ^ Bruce Francis, Guilty? Bob Hawke or Kim Hughes, Bruce Francis, 1989 p130
  28. ^ Douglas Alexander, 'Former skipper is tour mastermind', The Age, 26 April 1985 p 23 accessed 20 July 2012
  29. ^ "Hawke offers help Four quit tours of S. Africa.". The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995). ACT: National Library of Australia. 19 April 1985. p. 1. Retrieved 16 December 2014. 
  30. ^ Andrew Miller and Will Luke, 'Cricinfo XI - Eleven bizarre dismissals ... and one that got away', Cricinfo Magazine, February 2006 accessed 8 June 2012
  31. ^ Nick Hoult, 'England's last hurrah', Cricinfo Magazine, August 2005 accessed 8 June 2012
  32. ^ Mike Coward, 'Reformed Hookes Deserves a Test Recall', Sydney Morning Herald, 30 October 1985 p58 accessed 23 July 2012
  33. ^ Mike Coward, 'Reassurance for Phillips', Sydney Morning Herald, 1 January 1986 p 31 accessed 3 July 2012
  34. ^ Trevor Grant, "Phillips Must Make Way for Phillips Behind the Stumps", The Age, 31 December 2012 p18 accessed 20 July 2012
  35. ^ Michael Gordon, 'After the deluge, the thoughts of Hawke', The Age, 23 January 1986 p27 accessed 20 July 2012
  36. ^ Mike Coward, 'Zoehrer Gets Marsh Seal of Approval', Sydney Morning Herald, 31 January 1986 p37 accessed 20 July 2012
  37. ^ Trevor Grant, 'Zoehrer in for Phillips', The Age, 4 February 1986 p 42 accessed 20 July 2012
  38. ^ Australia in New Zealand 1985/86 (3rd Test) Eden Park, Auckland on 13-17 March 1986 at Cricinfo
  39. ^ Waugh p 89
  40. ^ Australia in New Zealand 1985/86 (3rd ODI) at Basin Reserve, Wellington 26 March 1986 at Cricinfo
  41. ^ Trevor Grant, 'Australia hits back hard', The Age, 27 March 1986 p 26 accessed 20 July 2012
  42. ^ "NSW skipper confident". The Canberra Times. 61, (18,725). Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 9 January 1987. p. 18. Retrieved 6 March 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  43. ^ 'Hookes and Phillips pile on the runs', The Age, 9 March 1987 p 27 accessed 20 July 2012
  44. ^ Rucci, M. & Stokes, K. "Sporting greats back Oval plan", Adelaide Now, 28 April 2011 Accessed 24 August 2011.
  45. ^ 'It's over for Emma, Kevin Foley' by Genevieve Meegan, Sunday Mail (SA), 28 April 2007
  46. ^ Christian Ryan, 'Six obsession', Cricinfo, 15 January 2009
  47. ^ Waugh p 88-89
  48. ^ Graham Halbish, Runout: My Dismissal and the Inside Story of Cricket, Melbourne Books, 2003 p 59
  49. ^ Walmsley, Keith (2003). Mosts Without in Test Cricket. Reading, England: Keith Walmsley Publishing Pty Ltd. p. 457. ISBN 0947540067. .
  • Waugh, Steve, Out of My Comfort Zone, Penguin, 2006

External links[edit]