Australia batsman and part-time wicketkeeper Peter Handscomb says that he found out that he wasn’t in the preliminary 26-man squad for the prospective limited-overs tour to England via social media.
Handscomb is determined to force his way back into the reckoning for a place in Australia‘s squad for the postponed T20 World Cup.
Considering the size of Australia’s squad, it came as a shock to Handscomb that he didn’t make the grade and he admits to feeling hurt by the exclusion.
“I saw a post on Instagram that Australia had named a 26-man squad for the ODIs in England,” Handscomb told cricket.com.au. “I was like, ‘Oh cool, all right. I guess I’m not in that!’ That sucked.
“I was in the 15-man squad to go to India in January. I still thought I was in the top 20 one-day players given what I had done over the last year and a half. To not be in the 26, that really hurt.
“Going from being in the 15 and then having 11 guys essentially jump me – I know they’re different roles and different positions – but that hurt a fair bit.”
The form of fellow right-handed middle-order batsmen Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne seems to have forced Handscomb to the fringes.
The batting form of wicketkeeper Alex Carey has also diminished the probability of Handscomb being required to don the gloves for Australia in white-ball cricket.
The 29-year-old said he had a constructive conversation with newly appointed selector George Bailey about his future and where he stands with the national team set-up.
“I had a really, really good conversation with George,” said Handscomb, who has returned to pre-season training in Melbourne after a planned county stint with Middlesex collapsed.
“I just wanted to get clarification around how I had gone from being in the 15 to not being in the 26.
“To his credit he said I’m competing against guys like Smudge (Smith), Marnus and (wicketkeeper Alex) Carey as well in terms of guys who control the middle order. They’re pretty solid at the moment in terms of three, four, five (in the batting order).
“I argued that I had made runs and could push a case there, but I’m going up against some pretty good players in terms of trying to steal their spots.
“I understood that decision, that’s fine, but that didn’t mean it hurt any less. It was really good to have that conversation with George to get that clarity.”
Handscomb feels that the fact that the 2023 World Cup will be held in India works in his favour as he remains one of Australia’s better batsmen against the turning ball.
“I would like to think with the World Cup in India in 2023 that I am at least on their radar,” said Handscomb. “I’d consider myself a good player of spin and being able to control those middle overs.
“George did mention that (World Cup) in our conversation, that it is hopefully something I can aspire to. With that being three years away, there’s still a lot of cricket to be played and water to go under the bridge.
“T20 cricket has taught us that we can go at 10, 11, 12 an over for 10 overs and not lose that many wickets. It is an impressive thought to potentially make 500 in a one-day game but in saying that…I believe you still need those guys in the middle to control it, to rotate the strike.
“It might be boring cricket, but if you need to go four or five an over for a bit in a tough period, then you need those guys as well.”
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