Royal Challengers Bangalore stalwart AB de Villiers has heaped praise on his side’s new recruit Josh Philippe and has made a startling claim that he sees a younger version of himself in the talented Australian. Philippe, who recently toured with Australia to the UK, was purchased by RCB for 20 lakh.
A flamboyant, free-stroking wicket-keeper batsman who has the god-gifted ability to time the ball at will, Josh Philippe has been making massive inroads on the Australian domestic circuit over the course of the past 12 months. Mentored by Steve Smith in Sydney Sixers, the 23-year-old finished as the third-highest run-getter in the 2019/20 Big Bash League with 487 runs to his name and was duly rewarded for his showing by being named in the Australian touring camp for their recently-concluded tour of the UK.
Purchased by RCB for 20 lakh in the auction, the youngster will get to play alongside one of his idols, AB de Villiers, in the forthcoming IPL edition, but the respect between the two, evident from the comments of the South African, is mutual. De Villiers, who was both an opening batsman and a wicket-keeper at the start of his career, has claimed that he sees a younger version of himself in Philippe.
“I am looking forward to connecting with Josh. I see a lot of similarities between the way he plays when I was younger,” de Villiers was quoted as saying by ESPN Cricinfo.
"I am excited about Josh. I watched him play for the Sydney Sixers. He takes the new ball on, he is a very talented player, I have heard Gilchrist say really some good things about him."
Chances in the upcoming IPL season for the young Western Australian will be limited, owing to RCB already having a packed, star-studded batting line-up, but in an interview to The Cricketer last week, Philippe had expressed his elation in being able to spend time with two of the greatest of all time in the form of Kohli and AB.
"It's surreal. AB and Virat are two of the best in the world so it'll be great to see how they train, play, and go about their business. It's an amazing opportunity to rub shoulders with those guys and see how the best in the world operate,” Philippe had said of the duo.
Despite being a part of the Australian squad that toured the UK, Philippe’s game time was limited to just four intra-squad matches. Earlier, coach Justin Langer had hinted that the youngster might have gotten an opportunity in the final ODI had Australia wrapped up the series in the 2nd ODI, in which they suffered a monumental collapse.