Young wicketkeeper-batsman Josh Philippe, who made his international debut for Australia against New Zealand last month, has pulled himself out of the upcoming IPL season.

Philippe was bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) at his base price of Rs 20 lakh at the 2020 IPL Auction. He played five games in the IPL last year and scored 78 runs for the Virat Kohli-led franchise.

Philippe was among the players who were retained for IPL 2021 by RCB, who reached the play-offs in IPL 2020 in the UAE.

The reason for Philippe’s absence for the entire 2021 IPL edition, however, is not clear.

Finn Allen replaces Josh Philippe for IPL 2021

RCB have signed New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman Finn Allen as a replacement for Philippe. Allen, who initially found no takers in the auction last month, had listed his base price at INR 20 lakh. Like Philippe, Allen can open the batting and keep wickets if needed.

“The RCB management is disappointed to lose a player of Josh’s calibre for this IPL season, but at the same time we fully understand, respect and support his decision of excluding himself from the tournament,” the franchise said in a statement.

“We had to select the next best option from the list of players registered for the IPL auction, at the same base price as Josh (20 lakh). We spent a great amount of time working through that potential list and have selected Finn Allen as a top-order batting replacement.”

Allen had a phenomenal Super Smash 2020-21. His chart-topping 512 runs at a strike rate of almost 194 powered Wellington Firebirds to the title.

The 21-year-old hit 25 sixes in the tournament – the most by any player – and pulled off a variety of outrageous shots, including a switch-hit off Northern Knights’ premier spinner Mitchell Santner.

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