Handscomb looks to make himself indispensable

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Australia middle-order batsman Peter Handscomb is looking to boost his value to the ODI team by taking on wicketkeeping long term.

Handscomb lost his Test place to the more versatile Mitchell Marsh and now wants to add full-time keeper to his ODI quiver.

The role is currently filled by another man axed from the Test team Matthew Wade but Handscomb’s ability to bat in the top six would make him an attractive prospect as keeper.

Handscomb told cricket.com.au in Perth after his Melbourne Stars lost to the Scorchers in the BBL: “If the opportunity is there, I want to do it for Australia during the one day series.

“That was another reason for me coming back here [to the Melbourne Stars], to put the gloves on and make sure my skills are up to international standard. It’s nice to have that game time.”

The 26-year-old isn’t keen on taking the gloves in Test cricket any time soon but feels he could cope with the extra workload of keeping in the shorter formats.

He added: “I’ve always been happy to do it in the white-ball formats – I can still bat in the top four or top five.

“Keeping isn’t too taxing in the shorter formats. I’m happy to do it under extreme circumstances (in Tests) but it takes a lot out of you in the long form.

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“I’m happy to do it in the one-dayers … I’m still pushing to be the one-day keeper come January.”

Handscomb explained why he was spotted doing keeping drills ahead of the Boxing Day Test at the MCG dispelling rumours that he was preparing to deputize for Tim Paine who suffered a death in the family over Christmas.

He said: “Every time I do it (practice wicketkeeping), all these stories come out saying, ‘what’s happening?'”

“That’s the thing – your KPIs (key performance indicators) or your IPP (Individual Player Plan) that you do with Cricket Australia, with the coaches and the support staff, one my targets is that I have to do some keeping once every week or once every fortnight to make sure I’m up with it.

“I’m trying to make sure my skills are up there when and if they need to be used.”

Handscomb does want to remain in the Test frame and feels that he should be considered for the Sydney Test and tour to South Africa.

He would add: “I’m still looking at the Sydney Test as a chance.

“It can be typically a spinning wicket and I feel like my game is good enough to get out there and make the runs if required.

“The boys are still making runs in the Test team though. If they’re making runs, then that’s fine, I’ll wait until my opportunity.

“If that comes in South Africa, then it comes in South Africa. But I’ve just got to make sure I’m ready to go.”