Australian wicket-keeping great Adam Gilchrist has implored selectors to pick in-form Sydney Sixers gloveman Josh Philippe for the upcoming T20 tour of New Zealand.

The Aussies are due to travel across the ditch ahead of a five-game series, beginning February 22 in Christchurch.

Selectors will need to reach deep into their stocks due to a concurrent tour of South Africa, which – presuming it goes ahead as planned – will feature David Warner, Pat Cummins, Steve Smith and other short form regulars.

And with a T20 World Cup set to take place in India later in the year, Gilchrist believes now is the perfect time to see what 23-year-old Philipee has to offer at the top level.

The upcoming glut of international cricket also raises the stakes in the BBL, with spots up for grabs.

“He’s so exciting,” Gilchrist said on the latest Fox Cricket podcast. “He’s a must inclusion for the T20 tour of New Zealand. Definitely.”

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No player has scored more than Phillipe’s 421 runs in BBL10. Combine this with a strike-rate (148.76) greater than Ben McDermott, Colin Munro, Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell, it’s not hard to see why pundits are tipping the right-hander to become an international star.

Gilchrist added: “That (New Zealand tour) is a prime opportunity to get him in – not just for the experience – but at the top of the order and say ‘away you go mate’.”

In the longer format, Philippe’s opportunities have been limited at Western Australia. Behind Josh Inglis in the pecking order, he averages 28.22 with one century from 19 First Class outings.

Fox Cricket understands two states are weighing up offering him a contract for next season with the lure of consistent red ball opportunities the carrot.

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He was unavailable for the first few rounds of this summer due to his commitments in the Indian Premier League.

Although his highest score was just 33 from five knocks, Philippe called AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli and Dale Steyn teammates and has returned to Australia in red hot T20 form.

Recent reports have suggested Australia’s T20 squad for New Zealand will travel the day after the BBL final on February 6 in order to complete a 14-day quarantine stint before the first game of the series.

Justin Langer is on record critiquing the scheduling logjam that will almost certainly see two Australian teams competing in different countries at the same time.

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T20 and ODI captain Aaron Finch agreed, saying the upcoming fixture is “probably not ideal” but mentioned Philippe’s name when quizzed on which players could get an opportunity.

“When you look at the list and the chats that you have with selectors there’s a lot of people that get talked about, and a lot of it is going to come down to, for this tour of New Zealand, selection for the Test squad, (and it) will depend on who gets opportunities and what type of player gets opportunities,” Finch said earlier this week.

“It’s an exciting time for Australia cricket. It’s probably not ideal having two Australian teams playing at the same time but it’s going to give us a lot of information going forward.”

Matthew Wade recently displaced Alex Carey as Australia’s first choice T20 keeper, though both could be in South Africa with the Test team in February, which would open the door for Philippe to make his international debut.



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