Philippe eyes high middle-order role when Inglis returns

West Australia's reserve wicketkeeper is targeting the No.4 or 5 roles after a strong off-season that included a match-winning hand for Australia A in Sri Lanka in June

Sheffield Shield-winning wicketkeeper Josh Philippe has set his sights on the number four or five spot in Western Australia's star-studded middle-order when Josh Inglis makes a long-awaited domestic return this summer.

Philippe, who made his second first-class hundred batting at No.5 against Queensland last November, is likely to take the gloves for the opening two months of the domestic season with Inglis away on international duty as part of Australia's T20 World Cup squad.

Inglis has hardly played for his state since the 2020-21 season after becoming a regular member of extended Australian squads due to the pandemic.

But with smaller a Test squad expected this summer due to relaxed COVID bubbles for the national side, and barring injury to incumbent 'keeper Alex Carey, Inglis seems likely to make his first appearance for WA in 14 months in late November.

The pair featured together in the two matches Inglis played for WA last season (a back-to-back Marsh Cup and Sheffield Shield clash against South Australia), and Philippe – who was the state's top run-scorer in the 50-over competition in 2021-22 owing to a century in the first of those – is again targeting a batting role when Australia's back-up gloveman returns to domestic cricket.

"I obviously love keeping and I'm a 'keeper-batter," Philippe told's The Unplayable Podcast.

Philippe slams seven sixes in maiden List A hundred

"But just like anything, if I'm making runs, hopefully I'm in the side as a batter as well when he comes back.

"Runs is the biggest currency and I want to be getting hundreds and big hundreds so that's my main goal.

"I'm ready for the first half to take the gloves and make a lot of runs and then when he comes back in, hopefully I'm still in the team batting in the top six.

"Ideally, if I'm playing as a batter, I think I'd like to be higher middle-order player, so a four or five.

"When I'm keeping it's nicer to get a bit more time off (my) legs sometimes and be a bit lower but I'm happy to play wherever I fit (and) if I keep making runs and they keep wanting me to bat higher I see it as a good thing."

Competition for spots in WA's top six is fierce with five of their six allrounders having played for Australia or Australia A this year and teenage batting sensation Teague Wyllie earning a spot in their drought-breaking Sheffield Shield-winning side in just his second first-class match.

Philippe's WA contract ran out at the end of last season and he revealed to The Unplayable Podcast he thought about aligning his state and Big Bash commitments – where he plays with the Sydney Sixers – following the retirement of veteran NSW and former Test wicketkeeper Peter Neville.

"I was very settled … after a really successful season with WA," said Philippe.

"We had a lot of good fun and I work really well with the coaches at WA cricket.

"It's a huge commitment to go across and move states … so it was a small thought but I'm pretty happy where I am."

The 25-year-old gave his push to play as a batter only in the state's top six a huge boost during the off-season when he dominated for Australia A in the opening first-class match of the tour of Sri Lanka in June.

Philippe turns the tables with fluent 94

Coming in at No.6, the right-hander arrived at the crease with Australia A in trouble at 4-49 before he rescued the innings with a superb 94 in a 125-run sixth-wicket partnership with WA teammate Aaron Hardie.

Philippe backed it up with 69 in the second innings as the visitors beat Sri Lanka A by 68 runs and Australia A completed a sweep of the two four-day matches when they chased 367 in the fourth innings of the second match a week later.

It was a busy winter for the West Australian who also played six matches for Sussex in England's T20 Blast and was part of a 10-day training camp to the MRF Academy in Chennaiin August.

"It was just a really good experience to take in my game plans against playing spin and play in those challenging subcontinent conditions," he said.

"It's just 10 full solid days of training and we played a couple of modified games in the middle of it.

"(It was) great to experience those conditions (that are) hard to replicate – quite spicy wickets and spinning quite big, we all had a pretty good time."

Philippe posts career-best score to put WA in control

Western Australia's season gets underway with a Marsh Cup fixture against Victoria at the Junction Oval on Sunday and Philippe said the group wanted to "do the exact same" as last season where they won both the 50-over and four-day competitions.

"We've got a very strong list, there's still a lot of motivation there," he said.

"We've gone from the hunters to the hunted, so it hasn't really changed our mentality (except) we're the team to beat now."