Josh Philippe is set to be rewarded for another outstanding BBL campaign with a spot in Australia’s top-order later this month.
Australia’s white ball captain Aaron Finch revealed on Monday that the 23-year-old will make his international debut when a five-match T20 series against New Zealand starts February 22.
Philippe will bat inside the top three alongside Finch and Matthew Wade, capping off a stunning rise at domestic level that saw him named this summer’s BBL Player of the Tournament.
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“The top three will be Wade, Philippe and myself,” Finch said.
“It’s pretty simple I’d imagine. When you look at the squad list, Josh Philippe has been in great nick and it’s great to see him playing well.
“We’re going to be flexible with that top order as well. If that means Wadey or myself or Josh, whoever bats at three, it’ll be a great opportunity.”
Finch also revealed that Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis will feature in a dynamic Australian top five.
Philippe, however, is the big winner with Steve Smith not touring New Zealand due to being selected for the now-postponed Test series against South Africa.
Cricket Australia opted not to change its T20 squad despite that tour being called off, meaning Philippe can take his game to the international stage having averaged 31.45 across 53 T20 appearances.
The right-hander became a back-to-back BBL champion with the Sydney Sixers on Saturday, finishing the season with 508 runs at 31.75, and a strike rate of 149.41.
Finch acknowledged that Philippe has found a new level to his game, saying: “He’s someone who has obviously got all the shots but he’s starting to get to that point of his career.
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“And I think a lot of that was on the back of having a couple of months of IPL where he spent a lot of time with AB (de Villers) and Virat (Kohli) talking about batting with myself — he’s taken his game to a new level because he’s just getting past that period when he’s not hitting them well.
“When he’s playing well it’s lights out, it’s brilliant. But just those days when he’s not feeling 100 per cent, he’s getting through that little danger period and still having a big impact on the game which I think is so important in T20.”
Australia squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Kane Richardson, Daniel Sams, Tanveer Sangha, D’Arcy Short, Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa