Australia middle-order batsman Peter Handscomb has backed under-fire wicketkeeper Matthew Wade to turn around his poor form with the bat.
Wade has struggled for runs since returning to the Test team in late 2016 with his 57 against India in Dharamsala ranking as his only half century in sixteen innings.
That slump has continued in Sheffield Shield cricket with Wade returning just 33 runs in two first class matches since returning to Tasmania from Handscomb’s Victoria.
Handscomb has cemented his place in the Ashes XI having enjoyed a dream start to his Test career.
Ahead of Victoria’s clash with Tasmania which gets underway on Monday Handscomb said: “I am a bit surprised with Matty because I know how well he can bat.
“Obviously, he’s under the microscope a little bit, so every little thing he seems to do wrong gets intensified … which is a bit of a shame, because he does do so much right as well.
“I’ve been able to see, for the last year, all the things that he has been doing right.
“Hopefully, for his sake, he can focus on that a little bit and try to get away from the negatives.”
Places in Australia’s lower-middle order are available for those who prove themselves in the Shield but Handscomb feels that selectors should take performances over the last few years into account.
South Australia’s Jake Lehmann has impressed this season but has just 29 first class games to his name.
Handscomb added: “Jake’s obviously a very, very good player.
“He went out there and basically made two hundreds, so that’s a positive sign.
“But there are guys that have been scoring runs for three or four years.
“Ultimately, you want someone that’s going consistently and, if they’re only going to be judged on these three games, as opposed to what they’ve done throughout their career, that can be a bit tough.”