Sydney: A guitar-strumming rocker when not keeping wickets, Australia`s Phil Nevill will hope to hit the right note when he makes his surprise test debut against England in the second Ashes match on Thursday.
Brad Haddin`s decision to skip the Lord`s test due to family reasons has cleared the deck for Nevill`s test debut and this is not the first time the 29-year-old had to fill in for his mentor.
He flew to West Indies in 2012 as a reserve for second-choice Matthew Wade when Haddin was forced to return home due to his daughter`s illness.
The competition with Wade for a playing spot in the Victoria team prompted Nevill to move to New South Wales in 2008 and that is where he blossomed both with gloves and bat and developed a close friendship with Haddin.
"Brad has had a massive impact on my career, he`s always so generous with his time," Nevill, who often carries a guitar with him, said during a News Corp interview in March.
"He`s helped me out a lot and he`s got a great eye for wicketkeeping and understands the technical aspects of it so well.
"Just little things like talking to him about scenarios or mentally what he`s thinking and his keys as a keeper. He`s certainly helped me become a better wicketkeeper."
Nevill had his strongest Sheffield Shield showing last season for NSW, which earned him the Steve Waugh medal for the state`s best player.
He scored 764 first-class runs at an average of over 76, including an unbeaten 235 against Tasmania in Hobart, and his form with the bat meant he played as a regular batsman for NSW when Haddin was available for domestic cricket.
Nevill also had 34 Shield dismissals in the last season, enough to earn a spot in the test squad as the second keeper behind Haddin on the tours of West Indies and the Ashes.
"I can always learn a lot from Hadds, but this tour I`ve got to prepare to play," Nevill said. "I need to be on top of my game and ready to go should that opportunity arise."
Now that the opportunity has arrived, his Australia team mate Peter Siddle was convinced Nevill would make it count.
"He`s played well in the opportunities he`s had. His record back home speaks for itself, he`s had a couple of great years in first-class cricket," said Siddle, Nevill`s former Victoria team mate.
"I played a lot with him as a youngster, being a Victorian boy. He gets his opportunity, I`ve got no doubt he will be ready to go."