Philippe and Maddinson make move to New South Wales

Two significant off-season signings have been confirmed which could add considerable strength to NSW

Josh Philippe drives into the off side, Western Australia vs Victoria, Sheffield Shield, Final, WACA, March 24, 2023

Josh Philippe's first-class career has stalled despite runs for Australia A  •  Getty Images

Josh Philippe has moved from Western Australia to New South Wales in a bid to reignite his Sheffield Shield career while Nic Maddinson returns to the state where his career began in a pair of significant domestic signings.
Philippe's shift to NSW has long been on the cards having been courted as far back as 2019 following his successful BBL move to Sydney Sixers. But he had previously opted to stay in WA to play Shield and Marsh Cup cricket despite Josh Inglis being the No.1 keeper, with Inglis' frequent absences due to international duty affording Phillipe plenty of opportunity to keep in both formats.
He has finally made the move east despite playing in two Shield titles and three Marsh Cups with WA in the last three seasons, as well as playing for Australia A in four-day cricket as a wicketkeeper, as his Shield career has stalled badly.
Meanwhile, Maddinson returns to NSW from Victoria after a strong finish to the 2023-24 Shield season where he hit three centuries in consecutive games after returning from an ACL injury. His move has the potential to add significant strength to the NSW top order. His red-ball surge came after he was dropped by Melbourne Renegades during the BBL where he was captain. It's understood he will also be moving to Sydney Thunder.
Maddinson, 32, made his Sheffield Shield debut for the Blues in 2010 where he struck a century against South Australia. He went on to play three Tests and six T20Is before drifting down the pecking order of Australia's batting prospects.
"Nic and Josh bring experience and also a familiarity with our players, coaches and the NSW set up so their transition should be seamless," NSW coach Greg Shipperd said. "Both Nic and Josh have played for their country, but we believe both have the ability to further develop their individual games and grow as cricketers and people. It's going to be exciting to watch their journey.
"Putting together a successful squad requires a balance between experienced and emerging talent and we believe we are developing that balance well."
Philippe was dropped from the WA side in the final Shield round before the BBL break in late November and replaced by a non-contracted wicketkeeper in Joel Curtis while Inglis was away with Australia's T20I side. That axing was softened by an immediate call-up to Australia's T20I side to play in the five-match series against India in India in early December.
He was recalled for the first Shield round after the BBL and made an unbeaten half-century against NSW in Perth. But that was his only Shield half-century in his last 27 innings dating back to December 2021, having averaged 14.44 in that time. He was dropped again when Inglis returned from international duty in late February and did not play in the final two rounds of the season or the final.
NSW will be hoping Philippe can return to his best at Shield level as he links up with his Sixers coach Shipperd and captain Moises Henriques. His recent record for WA is odd given he managed scores of 94, 69 and 105 in first-class matches for Australia A against Sri Lanka A and New Zealand A in the last two years.
Despite his lean run in Shield cricket, Philippe will be a significant asset to NSW in the Marsh Cup where he has been one of the key contributors in WA's hat-trick of titles. He was player of the tournament in the 2022-23 title and made a vital 42 against NSW in the low-scoring 2023-24 final at Cricket Central in Sydney in February.
It's understood that Philippe's move to Sydney has paved the way for Baxter Holt to move west after his career had stalled at NSW. Holt had not played any format for the Blues since December 2022, falling down the NSW wicketkeeping pecking order behind Matthew Gilkes.
WA flew the 24-year-old to Perth last week to visit the WACA and have a hit with WA batting coach Beau Casson and a catch with WA keeping coach Damon Rowan.
Holt is unlikely to play much cricket for WA in the early part of the 2024-25 season given Inglis will be available for most of the Shield matches before the BBL, except for any fixtures that could fall in late September when Australia's ODI side are in England or mid-November when Australia play Pakistan in three ODIs and T20Is at home.
But he is likely to get an uninterrupted opportunity in February-March 2025 when Inglis is a good chance to tour with Australia's Test side as a reserve-keeper/batter for the Sri Lanka Test tour and then the ODI Champions Trophy in Pakistan.

Alex Malcolm is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo