The Sydney Sixers remain confident they are in the box seat to secure the long-term future of Josh Philippe in the KFC BBL, despite intense interest from the Perth Scorchers.
Philippe emerged as a rising star of Australian cricket this past summer after flourishing in the Sixers' magenta having been lured from under the noses of the Scorchers.
Perth, the BBL's most successful club across the tournament's eight seasons, finished BBL|08 with the wooden spoon for the first time in their history, winning just four of 14 games.
Coupled with the shock exit of Shaun Marsh – who has agreed a multi-year deal with the Melbourne Renegades – plus the departure of club stalwart Michael Klinger and unlikely return of import David Willey puts the Scorchers in the midst of a rebuilding phase, with Philippe a prime target.
The 21-year-old signed a one-year deal with the Sydney Sixers for BBL|08 to bat in the top six and take the gloves, the lure of which proved too strong for a player who had previously hoped to break into the Scorchers' ranks as a reserve batsman.
It proved a masterstroke for the Sixers and Philippe became a rising star, quickly promoted to opening the batting as he scored 304 runs from 15 games at 30.4 and a strike rate of 158.33.
He drew comparisons with Steve Smith, and the former Australia captain took the youngster under his wing at Sixers training sessions during his suspension.
As clamour grew and he was quickly talked about in terms of Australian honours, he continued to pile on runs. His high score was an unbeaten 86 from 49 balls, and he collected a tournament-high 12 dismissals including three stumpings with international spinners Nathan Lyon and Stephen O'Keefe in the line-up.
A Sixers spokesperson told cricket.com.au: "We are still talking to Josh about his future with the Sixers and are confident he will re-join us next season."
Perth's general manager of high performance Ben Oliver yesterday said: "We won't be commenting on specific player contracting negotiations however discussions are progressing well and we are confident of assembling a strong squad for next season and beyond."
The keeper-batsman admitted it was a "tough conversation" to tell Scorchers coach Adam Voges he was joining Sydney last summer but everything "has been sweet since" the resumption of state cricket.
"It was really unfortunate that at the time I couldn't get a Scorchers contract because they were full," Philippe told WA's The Sunday Times of his move.
"The opportunity came up at Sydney and it was a risk to initially take it, but I was going to back myself in.
"Everyone has been sweet since I've come back, it was more of a surprise to them when it went down because I did say at one point that I was going to stay (as an injury-replacement player).
"Since I've been back, all has been good, I think they're just waiting on my next decision."
Phillipe is in action for Western Australia in their JLT Sheffield Shield clash with Tasmania at Blundstone Arena, having top-scored for the Warriors with 76 in the first-innings.
He has indicated he sees his future in first-class cricket with Western Australia, but is putting off that next decision until after the Shield season.
"I've got another year with WA but I don't think that will be an issue, I'm hoping I'll be asked to extend at WA," Philippe said.
"WA is my home, I love playing for WA and I've had plenty of opportunities already going through so I don't see any reason why I should consider moving.
"I guess Big Bash is the one where it will be a bit more of a tough decision.
"I won't be looking at offers elsewhere, it will be only be between the Sixers and the Scorchers."
WA is overloaded with wicketkeeping options – Josh Inglis has the gloves in the XI playing Tasmania, a side that also includes glovemen Cameron Bancroft, Sam Whiteman and Philippe.